Category Archives: Books

graphic novel – The Quasimodo Gambit

(Dark Horse Comics. 1994 Script Don MacGregor; Art-Gary Caldwell) The Reverend Elias Hazelwood and his church, the Disciples of the Heavenly Way, are actually a religious fanatic group plotting to set an example for all the world to follow. They`re planning to blow up a building in New York with the street address of 666 – “The Beast”, as they refer to it.

The number one thug is Maximillian “Quasimodo” Steel, a ruthless mercenary who`ll stop at nothing to cleanse the world of its sins. From negotiations with arms dealers and drug cartels to a climactic elevator shaft fight, this Bond story is exciting, believable, and well-written. A unique feature of this series is the fact that we can read all of Bond`s thoughts; very enlightening and insightful.

Bond fans will recognize Felix Leiter, references to Honeychile Ryder (Dr. No), even Bond`s flashback to his very first licensed killing, which has been alluded to in several mainstream Bond books, as well as the Authorized Biography of 007 by John Pearson. However, this series has two drawbacks: the artwork, aside from the covers, is poor – it looks like spray painting; and the books are simply too long. They include a lot of unnecessary filler material that slows down the plot substantially. Overall, though, a very good read.

graphic novels – The Illustrated James Bond

First printing, published by The James Bond 007 Fan Club in February 1981. This is a 90-page soft-cover collection of black and white comic strips that were originally printed in various newspapers in the late 1950`s to early 1960`s.

“Illustrated” contains “Diamonds Are Forever” (August 1959-Jan 1960), “From Russia With Love” (Feb 1960-May 1960), and “Dr. No” (May 1960-Oct 1960). All three stories are written by Henry Gammidge and illustrated by John McLusky with introduction by Richard Schenkman. Cover art by Tom Sciacca and Rich Buckler.

graphic novel – The Barbi Twins: Virtual Phony

This comic book is actually three stories in one. The first one, “Prelude to a Mission”, has the Barbi Twins – Sia and Shane – being kidnapped by their arch-enemy, Betty Blodryed. Apparently, the Twins work for an agency that foiled Blodryed`s plans one time and left her to be horribly scarred in an explosion. Now she wants revenge by dropping the twins into a vat of acid and ruining their looks forever. The next chapter – “Virtual Phony” – continues their story and includes a guest appearance by James Bond himself! The third chapter – “The Barbi Twins and Razor versus the Queen City Mob” – has nothing to do with the other two.

In “Virtual Phony”, the Twins use Bond-like gadgets to try to escape from Blodryed. However, they end up falling out of a helicopter and right into the acid vat. Just before they hit the acid, though, they are magically whisked away to another dimension – a dimension of virtual reality! There, they are immediately captured by the hoods of the master of the realm: a dragon with eyeglasses! In prison, they stumble upon an old man in chains with a beard down to his chest. One of them states, “Hey, we KNOW you! Aren`t you Ja–“. Yes, that`s the only clue we have that James Bond is involved in the story! Apparently, he was also captured in this alternate dimension and forced to entertain the “master”. He outlived his usefulness; now, the Twins have been brought in to take his place!

I have included this story in the James Bond Comics section because I collect any and all stand-alone stories that James Bond is somehow involved in. However, if you want a true Bond adventure set in the real world, this is definitely NOT worth adding to your collection! It is a comic set in a fantasy realm, starring two real people, with a cameo of someone we can only assume to be James Bond. The artwork is wonderful, but still not worth the $2.50 I paid for the book.

graphic novel – Shattered Helix

(Dark Horse Comics.June 1994 Script-Simon Jewett; Editor Dick Hansom; Design-Fuentes) This two-issue series wasn`t earth-shattering – no pun intended – but it was a good read in its own right. We are once again introduced to Cerebrus – from A Silent Armageddon – who is being led by a Mr. Barclay and a thug named Bullock, a man with surgically-implanted body armor. Cerebrus kidnaps a scientist from an experimental biosphere, a scientist who knows about a secret research center in the Antarctic. This center is the remainder of a failed experiment which ultimately produced a killer virus – a DNA mutagen.

Not a great deal of characteristic Bondisms in this story. Bond`s female partner is an Arctic researcher named Serena Mountjoy, someone he has had dealings with in the past (although the name doesn’t seem familiar from any of the books, comics, or movies). The plot is well-written, and the action is great. The story winds up with a preachy poetic note on the abuse of our environment – a bit campy. Overall, though, a very good series.

graphic novel – Serpent`s Tooth

(Dark Horse Comics 7/92 Story-Doug Moench) A 3 issue set from Dark Horse Comics, Serpent`s Tooth is a hybrid mixture of futuristic Bond with some traces of The Spy Who Loved Me thrown in. Bond has to go to South America and take on an unusual villian named Indigo, who has a blood/skin condition due to genetic expirementing that makes him look like a reptile. Lots of explosive action; the best illustrated of all the 007 Comic Books. Thrilling climax. If you only buy one series, buy this one.

Additional commentary by Jon Raker

Indigo`s main goal is to set off nuclear devices in the deep-sea crevices of the world`s oceans so as to create tidal waves large enough to wipe out the powerful coastal cities of the world – then move in and take over. The first agent to try and take him down – 009 – is captured and genetically engineered into a brutish servant named Goliath. Very interesting plot, and by far the best artwork of ANY James Bond comic series. However, some parts of the story are farfetched and totally unbelievable. Bond gets into a life-or-death, hand-to-hand scuffle with a genetically-engineered dinosaur, reminiscent of the raptors in Jurassic Park. Then Indigo`s base of operations suddenly sprouts a dome covering and motorized wheels and drives itself right out into the ocean. Aside from the few plot flaws, it was a very unique and enjoyable Bond story.

graphic novel – Plunder Down Under

Plunder Down Under Volume One Number Four April 1992 (Adaption:Cal Hamilton; Inks: Bambos Georgioli; Colors: Euan Peters)

Summary: An armada of the worlds biggest cargo ships have been disappearing, and it`s up to Bond and the kids to find out who is behind it, wha they want, and stop it. Locations Covered: The Greek Coast; The Parthenon Villain: Walker D. Plank; Action sequnces: a cargo ship is dragged down below the surface of the ocean, the gang is swallowed by a mechancial shark, escape from the plexiglass cage.

graphic novel – permission To Die

(Eclipse Comics 1989 Writer and Artist: Mike Grell) Even in comic book form, some things remain the same…In Permission To Die, Bond still has an eye for the ladies, Martini`s , gambling and dangerous missions. Permission To Die is a three part series first printed back in 1989 and concerns the idea that in the future, war will be fought, not on the ground, but in space. Looking to protect Britian`s network of space based satellites and intelligence gathering networks from future attacks, “M” enlists the aid of Dr. Erik Widzialdo. It seems the Dr. Widzialdo has developed a program that can help Britian from just such a scenario. What will it cost Britian? Possibly Bond`s life. His mission is to infiltrate Communist Hungary and bring back Dr. Widzialdo`s niece, Miss. Edain Gayla, alive and safe.

Additional reporting by Jon Raker

The artwork for this series looks more like sketches than final drafts, but if you like the old-fashioned type of Bond story, you`ll love this one! Full of flashbacks; you`ll see Bond`s thoughts as he is remembering his adventures from Goldfinger, Thunderball, Dr. No, On Her Majesty`s Secret Service, etc.

Felix Leiter is back, as is a new ally – Luludi “Botanee” Bey, daughter of Kerim Bey (From Russia With Love). Bond has another shootout in the gypsy camp from that same movie. In addition, other aspects of this series are reminiscent of past Bond stories: the use of a minichopper (like the movie You Only Live Twice), a Dr. No-type fortress built by Widzialdo, and an assasin similar to Scaramanga (The Man With the Golden Gun) named the Wolf. He only uses silver-jacketed bullets. There`s even a scene very similar to the Golden Gun movie in which the assassin shoots another target right next to where Bond is standing.

As it turns out, Dr. Widzialdo is determined to cause a catastrophe to remind the world of the horrors of nuclear devices; this is actually in the hopes that it will finally bring world peace. His organization, as we find out, has already caused the disasters at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. The plot is excellent and, for the most part, very believable. All in all, one of my favorite Bond comic book series.

graphic novel – Minute of Midnight

(Printed in issue 25 of Dark Horse Comics) This one-shot comic story has a nameless terrorist organization led by a gentleman named Lexis plotting to blackmail the superpowers of the world. They are going to aim Stinger missiles at nuclear power plants and threaten to blow them up unless they are well paid. Bond gets a recording of their meeting, with the help of Harlan Sykes of the CIA, and has to fly with it back to London.

On the plane, his CIA guide – Robert Nagell – tries to kill him. Bond has a mid-air fight outside of the plane, parachutes for a spell, then lets go of the chute, lands on the plane, and pulls it up just before hitting the water – the pilots, of course, are out cold. Aside from this ridiculous scene, the story is really good. Bond finishes up by delivering the goods to a fellow agent – Nigel Redditch – and proceeding to sneak onto Lexis`s estate that night to assassinate him. Here we see the tortured side of James Bond, the assassin, who remebers every cold-blooded bullet, every woman`s scream. An excellent insight into a complex character.

Interestingly enough, we find out on the last page of the story that Harlan Sykes and Nigel Redditch are actually stealing the evidence handed over by Bond and replacing it with false evidence, for reasons that are not made known to us. They finish up by preparing to discuss their plans “for the abduction of M”! Apparently, there was supposed to be quite a bit more to this story. However, issue #25 was the last issue of Dark Horse Comics ever printed. We may never know what eventually happens! However, it is very much worth the read.

graphic novel – Light of My Death

(Printed in issues 8-11 of Dark Horse Comics) This story kept jumping around, thereby producing a plot that was hard to follow and somewhat dreary. A crime boss named Amos is trying to cover up a scheme that has Swiss bankers as a front for arms trading between Hong Kong and Moscow, still during the Cold War. When a British agent – Denis Rogers – is killed investigating the crime ring, 007 is called in. His efforts to reveal Amos`s plot and nab the nameless assassin working for Amos are accentuated by the help of his partner – Tatiana Romanova of From Russia With Love fame.

Tatiana, unfortunately, is the only endearing thing about this story, which really dies without even starting. The assassin is nailed at the end, but Amos is never captured and brought to justice. Not worth the effort to collect all four comics.

graphic novel – License To Kill

This 1989 comic book adaption of the film of the same name is a great item for any casual to serious Bond collector. Faithfully adapted from the film, this book appeared as an oversized comic, with a glossy front cover captured from the film.

Eclipse Comics was the distributor and Mike Grell was the author, who went on to create Permission To Die.

James Bond Junior Overview

Six JB Junior novels differed from the “A View To A Kill Find Your Fate” series, as these were based upon the James Bond Jr. television cartoon and comic book. It was a six book series, with such titles as: A View To A Thrill, The Eiffel Target, Live and Let`s Dance, Sandblast, Sword of Death and High Stakes.


There was also a 12-issue series of comics from Marvel, which ran from Jan-Dec 1992 and was based on the children`s cartoon series that appeared on TV at about the same time. The stories center around Bond`s nephew; though he`s not Bond`s actual son, he is still named James Bond, Jr. According to the Fleming novels, after Bond`s father – Andrew Bond – died, he went to live with his aunt, Charmaine Bond. Thus, James Bond, Jr., must be her son.

Bond, Jr., is attending the Warfield Academy, run by the headmaster, Mr. Milbanks. There, Jr. associates with several friends who are related to various Bond characters. Horace Boothroyd, grandson of Major Boothroyd (“Q”), is one such friend. His nickname is “I.Q.”, and he invents all sorts of gadgets and devices to help out Jr., just like his grandfather does for 007. Another familiar name is Leiter; Gordo Leiter, the surfing son of Felix. Then there are new names: Phoebe Farragut, who has a huge crush on Jr.; Trevor Noseworthy, III, whose arrogance and nerdiness contrast with Jr.`s suave “coolness”; and Tracy Milbanks, daughter of the headmaster, who just happens to have the same first name as 007`s only wife.

Although Jr. is supposed to be concentrating on his studies, he and his friends seem to be the only force able to stop the various sinister plots of the international crime organization known as S.C.U.M. – Saboteurs and Criminals United in Mayhem. Various enemies new to the world of Bond comprise this organization: the Scumlord himself, Walker D. Plank, Skullcap, Doctor DeRange, Von Skarin, and others. However, some familiar names can also be found: Goldfinger and Odd Job, Dr. No, and Jaws. If one were to try and place these stories chronologically within the Bond literary cycle, they would have to place them before the books Dr. No and Goldfinger due to the fact that these two criminals are alive and well in the world of James Bond, Jr.

The series is definitely geared toward children, with campy plots and even campier lines and character names. For example, in issue #2, Jr. works with a French girl named Marci Beaucoup. She kisses him at the end, and when one of his friends states that he looks shaken from the kiss, Jr. replies, “Shaken . . . AND stirred!”, reminding us of Bond`s martinis of old. However, in trying to introduce the world of Bond to the younger generation, I feel that the stories do a credible job. The plots are intricate enough without being too complicated, and they follow along the grand schemes and action sequences that audiences have come to expect from James Bond stories. However, if you`re looking for adult realism and plotlines, this series is definitely not for you!

Each of the plots are outlined in this section of Forever. With exceptions that are mentioned, the issues are written or adapted by Dan Abnett, with inks by Bambos Georgiou, colors by Sophie Heath, and letters by Stuart Bartlett.

graphic novel – James Bond, Jr.: The Eiffel Missle

The Eiffel Missile -Volume 1 Number 2 February 1992 (Writer: Doug Molitor; inks: Adolfo Buylla; colors: Euan Peters)

Summary: Skullcap and Dr. DeRange have built a missile silo under the Eiffel Tower and plan to use the missile to start a “world conflict”. Jr., aided by the beautiful Marci Beaucoup and several of I.Q.`s gadgets, must stop them before the missile can be launched. Locations covered: Paris, Calais, London; Villains: Dr Derange and Skullcap; Action sequnces: Jr. climbs aboard a plane in midflight, hovercraft is shot at by laser wielding goons from high above a helicopter, Jr. pilots hovercraft through downtown Calais, avoids deadly and flammable menucart; escapes being chained to launching missle.

graphic novel – James Bond, Jr.: The Beginning

The Beginning Volume 1 Number 1 January 1992 (pictured left)(Writers: T. Pederson/F. Moss; pencils: Mario Capaldi; inks: Colin Fawcett; colors: Euan Peters)

Summary: In this issue, we meet the important characters and start to learn about Bond, Jr. Meanwhile, Scumlord and Jaws try to steal Jr.`s flying Aston Martin and accidentally kidnap Tracy in the process! Locations covered:English countryside; Villain:Scumlord; Action sequences: car chase in English countryside, hand to hand combat in cargo plane

graphic novel – GoldenEye

(Topps Comics.1995) The comic book adaption of Goldeneye is every bit as fun as the movie. It was planned for the series to be developed in three issues, but only issue number one ever went to press. The book contains dialogue and situations cut from the final film. Nice artwork and crisp writing (from Don McGregor) highlights the spirit and fun of the movie.

graphic novel – For Your Eyes Only

(Marvel Comics.1981) The comic book adaption of For Your Eyes Only is a somewhat tedious read.

The adaption was divided into two parts, with issue one covering everything from the helicopter showdown with Blofeld to Bond`s escapade on the ice rink after Bibi leaves. It`s notable mostly for Stan “SPIDERMAN” Lee`s involvement.

Oddly enough, they left the character of “M” in the comic even though he was removed from the film due to Bernard Lee`s death.

graphic novel – Earth Cracker

Earth-Cracker – Volume One Issue Three; March 1992 (Writer: Cal Hamilton; inks: Adolfo Buylla; colors: Euan Peters)

Summary: Goldfinger and Odd Job kidnap a student from the Warfield Academy – Lotta Dinaro, whose father may have found the lost city of gold, El Dorado. Locations covered: London, Peru; Villains: Goldfinger and Oddjob; Action sequences: Bond and gang try to avoid a battle tank, Bond mountain climbs and survives and earthquake; Bond`s swing into action is cut short by Oddjob`s bowler; Bond, Lotta and her father swing down 200 ft and overtake the Earth-Cracker.

graphic novel – Dance of the Toreadors

Dance of the Toreadors Volume One Issue 5; May 1992 (Colors: Euan Peters)

Summary: The Flamenco dancer Dulce Nada is kidnapped by Von Skarin, who needs the “memory crystals” hidden on her dress to activate the Siegfried Supercomputer and take over the world`s communications systems. Locations covered: England, Spain (Pamplona and San Sebastian) Villain: Von Skarin; Action sequences: Bond and IQ chase a woman on a motorcycle in their sportscar, a beautiful cat burglar escapes from a laboratory with crystals, Bond attaches a magnet dangling from the villains helicopter to a tractor trailer, Bond is chased on an ATV through the streets of Pamplona; Bond gets caught up in the Running of the Bulls, Bond has to outsmart a wild bull.

graphic novel – A Silent Armageddon

(Dark Horse Comics. 3/93 Script-Simon Jowett) Only the first two out of this four-part series were ever released. As a result, it`s disappointing in that we never know how it ends or who the main bad guys are.

This series introduces a new crime network – Cerebrus, the three-headed dog. The heads stand for Espionage, Extortion, & Enforcement. The plot centers around an artificially intelligent computer virus – Omega – that could be used to control the communications systems of the entire world. The key to this program is in the hands of a cripled 13 year-old girl genius. For the first time, Bond is working with a child, and his discomfort and awkwardness in the “parenting” role is very nicely presented and very insightful to our understand of this side of James Bond.

The plot, from what we know of it, is very well written, and it`s a shame we aren`t allowed to read the rest of the story. It promised to get even more interesting, too, for at the end of the second book, one of the Cerebrus thugs goes after Bond on a personal vendetta. As the book ends, we find out that the thug`s name is Klebb – almost undoubtedely related to the same Klebb that Bond has grappled with before! Bond fans are also re-introduced to Felix Leiter and several characteristic Bondisms throughout this series.

transcript – Raymond Benson: Live Chat

Raymond Benson Chat

Mon Apr 24 18:05:10 2000 icebreaker: hello everyone we are just about ready to begin I`d like to thank everyone for coming out tonight
i`m sure we`ll have a few late people drop in like we always do a transcript of this chat will be posted later for reference I`d also like to thank Raymond for being gracious enough to be our special guest tonight

Mon Apr 24 18:06:35 2000 rbenson {action: } grins evilly.

Mon Apr 24 18:06:52 2000 icebreaker: and we will start off tonights chat by asking him to give us just a brief background on his life and how he got to the point of writing the novels-end

Mon Apr 24 18:07:23 2000 rbenson {public msg} Hi everyone! Thanks for having me here Michael Background on my life? That could take a while… 🙂 Suffice it to say that I`ve always been in the arts studied theatre in school, majored in directing in college, spent over a decade in New York City directing plays off-off and off-Broadway, composing music…then fell into writing around the same time I got into games I wrote The James Bond Bedside Companion in the early 80s and also became a computer game designer. I did that up until 1996, when Glidrose asked me to take over from John Gardner out of the blue (they had liked the Bedside Companion and we had kept in touch) so I`ve been writing Bond novels since! 🙂 (end)

Mon Apr 24 18:09:58 2000 icebreaker {public msg} First, let`s talk about Doubleshot. Who`s in it? What`s it about? If you are a new fan who has not read your prior work, can they pick it up right away and understand what`s going on?

Mon Apr 24 18:10:24 2000 rbenson {public msg} Sure, all the novels are built such that anyone can read one without having read previous ones…… but so are Fleming`s and Gardner`s, to an extent
there are some continuity things, of course it`s always best to start with the beginning, but not necessary

Doubleshot is the informal 2nd part of a trilogy featuring a criminal organization called The Untion
Mon Apr 24 18:11:15 2000 rbenson {public msg} er Union
Mon Apr 24 18:11:23 2000 rbenson {public msg} the Onion? 🙂
Mon Apr 24 18:11:39 2000 rbenson {public msg} In it, Bond goes through some, well, psychological problems in a way, it`s my `From Russia With Love` the bad guys are out to GET Bond… Gardner had his FRWL with `Nobody Lives Forever` the Union creates an elaborate plot to trick and trap Bond and kill him off in a humiliating fashion (end)

Mon Apr 24 18:12:57 2000 icebreaker {public msg} What process goes into creating covers for the books and how do the covers get chosen? For example, the UK and US versions of Doubleshot are startlingly different.
Mon Apr 24 18:13:14 2000 rbenson {public msg} we have no say on the covers… that`s entirely up to the respective publishers they show them to us, and we can nod courteously or say `hmmm, I don`t really like it` but the latter response usually does no good. I really like the UK Doubleshot cover (end)

Mon Apr 24 18:14:09 2000 icebreaker {public msg} yes, so do i

Mon Apr 24 18:14:18 2000 icebreaker {public msg} the next question is from Jason
Mon Apr 24 18:14:33 2000 icebreaker {public msg} i`m sorry the next question is from Bondfan

Mon Apr 24 17:58:58 2000 bondfan {ask} how far advanced are the short story collection plans? And a general comment–I finished Doubleshot, and it is another excellent entry in the Benson Bond canon. Very well written, with a sweep reminiscent of Fleming.

Mon Apr 24 18:15:10 2000 rbenson {public msg} Thanks very much, I appreciate that… the short story collection won`t happen until there are enough short stories to justify doing a collection!
right now, there are only 3 and the `Midsummer Night`s Doom` was such a Playboy-oriented story that it probably wouldn`t be included in the collection

that was a special wink-wink nudge-nudge story just for Playboy
simply to celebrate Bond`s association with the magazine and really isn`t supposed to be taken seriously as a Bond story (end)

Mon Apr 24 18:16:47 2000 icebreaker {public msg} following up on that…does Playboy own the story? Glidrose? Can you do what you want with it? End

Mon Apr 24 18:17:09 2000 rbenson {public msg} Glidrose owns all the stories… they can re-sell them anywhere (end)

Mon Apr 24 18:17:55 2000 icebreaker {public msg} i`m trying to keep all the doubleshot questions together so Bondfan had another one

Mon Apr 24 17:52:27 2000 bondfan {ask} Did you travel to all the locations in Doubleshot? Have you ever met with members of MI6? Now, this is a spoiler, but why did you not include Major Boothroyd in Doubleshot?

Mon Apr 24 18:18:15 2000 rbenson {public msg} that`s 3 questions! 🙂
Mon Apr 24 18:18:21 2000 rbenson {public msg} I did travel to all the locations; big trip!
Mon Apr 24 18:18:32 2000 rbenson {public msg} Spain, Gibraltar, Morocco, England
Mon Apr 24 18:18:48 2000 rbenson {public msg} never met anyone from MI6, and I doubt they would want to meet with me! 🙂
Mon Apr 24 18:19:14 2000 rbenson {public msg} as for Boothroyd, I just decided to leave him out of this one… you know, he only appeared in the Fleming books once!
Mon Apr 24 18:19:35 2000 rbenson {public msg} People ask me that since Desmond died, will I change Boothroyd?
Mon Apr 24 18:19:47 2000 rbenson {public msg} the answer is `no`… the character didn`t die… the actor did
Mon Apr 24 18:19:54 2000 rbenson {public msg} Boothroyd will return in my books.
Mon Apr 24 18:19:56 2000 rbenson {public msg} (end)

Mon Apr 24 18:19:58 2000 willply {public msg} Maybe remind all at this point if they want to ask questions to enter the auditorium… A few new folks have wandered in.

Mon Apr 24 18:20:23 2000 icebreaker {public msg} to the new people who have entered…if you want to submit questions to Raymond, please go into the auditorium to do so. Thanks!

Mon Apr 24 18:20:29 2000 icebreaker {public msg} well raymond
Mon Apr 24 18:20:33 2000 icebreaker {public msg} you stole my next question
Mon Apr 24 18:20:41 2000 rbenson {public msg} I saw it coming! 🙂
Mon Apr 24 18:20:52 2000 icebreaker {public msg} so we will move on to Jason Allentoff`s question about The Bedside Companion

Mon Apr 24 17:58:33 2000 planet007site {ask} Are there plans for an updated version of The Bedside Companion?

Mon Apr 24 18:21:17 2000 rbenson {public msg} The Bedside Companion is now currently on sale again as an electronic book from
Mon Apr 24 18:21:21 2000 rbenson {public msg} it is not updated
Mon Apr 24 18:21:30 2000 rbenson {public msg} As I wrote in the new introduction
Mon Apr 24 18:21:43 2000 rbenson {public msg} I shouldn`t update it now, it wouldn`t be `right` now that I`m the Bond author
Mon Apr 24 18:21:55 2000 rbenson {public msg} I wouldn`t feel comfortable critiquing the films or the later Gardner books
Mon Apr 24 18:22:14 2000 rbenson {public msg} so it`s the 1988 version that is available now for downloading (end)

Mon Apr 24 18:22:32 2000 icebreaker {public msg} yes, we will be getting to your deal with POL later on
Mon Apr 24 18:22:38 2000 icebreaker {public msg} i have a smart group here tonight
Mon Apr 24 18:22:53 2000 icebreaker {public msg} Bondfan has a new question…

Mon Apr 24 18:21:33 2000 bondfan {ask} Any plans for a return of Hedy and Heidi from this book? They are your best girls to date, and I`d love to see them again.
Mon Apr 24 18:23:21 2000 rbenson {public msg} Thanks, my British editor thought so too… I have no idea at this point whether or not they will return…
Mon Apr 24 18:23:31 2000 rbenson {public msg} the usual thing is for Bond girls NOT to return, but you never know (end)
Mon Apr 24 18:23:40 2000 rbenson {public msg} btw—
Mon Apr 24 18:23:54 2000 rbenson {public msg} an excerpt from Doubleshot where Heidi & Hedy are introduced will be in the June issue
Mon Apr 24 18:23:58 2000 rbenson {public msg} of Playboy, on sale next week
Mon Apr 24 18:24:29 2000 rbenson {public msg} there is also an article on the history of Bond and Playboy in the same issue
Mon Apr 24 18:24:37 2000 rbenson {public msg} a must-have for collectors! (end)
Mon Apr 24 18:25:00 2000 icebreaker {public msg} See what you learn guys when you attend 007Forever chats –end

Mon Apr 24 18:25:57 2000 icebreaker {public msg} It seems like whenever an article reviews your books, they make mention of the fact that you were a fan who had done the games and the Bedside Companion. Does it help or hurt to have been a fan first and do you know how much of a fan Gardner was before he began writing?
Mon Apr 24 18:26:28 2000 rbenson {public msg} Gardner was a little bit of a fan, I think, from what he told me… after all, The Liquidator series is
Mon Apr 24 18:26:31 2000 rbenson {public msg} a Bond parody of sorts
Mon Apr 24 18:27:03 2000 rbenson {public msg} I`m not sure if it helps or hurts with the games/fan stuff… some of the reviewers who are less kind
Mon Apr 24 18:27:12 2000 rbenson {public msg} think that because I was a game designer I can`t write prose
Mon Apr 24 18:27:17 2000 rbenson {public msg} (end)
Mon Apr 24 18:28:03 2000 icebreaker {public msg} Globetwo had a question that I think I can answer and then you can pick up where I left off i you`d like to Raymond
Mon Apr 24 18:28:26 2000 rbenson {public msg} go ahead
Mon Apr 24 18:28:42 2000 rbenson {public msg} “Evil Hours”?
Mon Apr 24 18:28:48 2000 icebreaker {public msg} I`d like to remind everyone that Evil Hours, Benson`s 14 part serial, will debut at tomorrow morning at 7:00 am est, as well as two of his non-Bond short stories “The Plagarist” and “Thumbs Down”, described as TWILIGHT ZONE style stories dealing with frustrated writers.
Mon Apr 24 18:28:57 2000 icebreaker {public msg} end
Mon Apr 24 18:28:57 2000 rbenson {public msg} It`s supposed to, but I`m not sure if POL will have it ready
Mon Apr 24 18:29:20 2000 rbenson {public msg} There will be an announcement on the newsgroup as soon as it is online
Mon Apr 24 18:29:47 2000 rbenson {public msg} like most website based companies, sometimes they don`t meet their target dates
Mon Apr 24 18:29:48 2000 rbenson {public msg} (end)
Mon Apr 24 18:29:56 2000 icebreaker {public msg} What kind of fan fiction, if any, can a fan get away with?
Mon Apr 24 18:30:25 2000 rbenson {public msg} Hmmm… all I know is that Glidrose does not take kindly to fan fiction. Best to stay away from it.
Mon Apr 24 18:30:26 2000 rbenson {public msg} (end)
Mon Apr 24 18:30:44 2000 icebreaker {public msg} Yankee has a question
Mon Apr 24 18:30:03 2000 yankee {ask} Hi Raymond. With your novelisations of TND and TWINE, I`m sure you`ve crossed paths with Michael Wilson and B. Broccoli. Has there ever been even a passing conversation with them about you writing an original screenplay for them? Or adapting one of your books?
Mon Apr 24 18:31:23 2000 rbenson {public msg} I have a friendly relationship with EON, but so far nothing has been said about me doing either of those things.
Mon Apr 24 18:31:41 2000 rbenson {public msg} I`m keeping my fingers crossed. (end)
Mon Apr 24 17:58:06 2000 planet007site {ask} Are you writing the novel for Bond 20?
Mon Apr 24 18:32:01 2000 rbenson {public msg} I can only surmise that I will. (end)
Mon Apr 24 17:58:54 2000 planet007site {ask} Do you know any details on the plot for Bond 20?
Mon Apr 24 18:32:30 2000 rbenson {public msg} As far as I know, there is no script yet. (end)
Mon Apr 24 17:59:15 2000 planet007site {ask} Are the rumors about Brosnan doing four more films true?
Mon Apr 24 18:32:59 2000 rbenson {public msg} I have no idea what plans Pierce has with EON. (end)

Mon Apr 24 18:30:42 2000 yankee {ask} What are your thoughts on the film TWINE?
Mon Apr 24 18:33:24 2000 rbenson {public msg} It was a fun ride. 🙂 (end)
Mon Apr 24 18:34:01 2000 icebreaker {public msg} Do you have fans bugging you wanting you to use their name as a character, good or bad, in your novels?
Mon Apr 24 18:34:31 2000 rbenson {public msg} Not really. I do it as favors for friends. It`s more of a tradition… Fleming did it, Gardner did it…
Mon Apr 24 18:34:50 2000 rbenson {public msg} It`s fun to do it… nobody has really asked me to do it…
Mon Apr 24 18:34:52 2000 rbenson {public msg} (end)
Mon Apr 24 18:35:09 2000 icebreaker {public msg} if fleming had not done it, would it change the way you feel about doing it?
Mon Apr 24 18:35:17 2000 rbenson {public msg} probably (end)
Mon Apr 24 18:35:23 2000 icebreaker {public msg} Of your friends names that you have used as characters, how do you decide who is bad and who is good?
Mon Apr 24 18:35:53 2000 rbenson {public msg} Totally arbitrary… sometimes I`ve just got a character, good or bad, and I need a name, so I use the first one to pop in my head
Mon Apr 24 18:36:05 2000 rbenson {public msg} I don`t start out thinking, I`m going to use so-and-so in this part
Mon Apr 24 18:36:14 2000 rbenson {public msg} (end)
Mon Apr 24 18:36:33 2000 rbenson {public msg} I do make up some names
Mon Apr 24 18:36:35 2000 rbenson {public msg} (end)
Mon Apr 24 18:32:06 2000 spy {ask} Do you envision a particular actor playing James Bond inside your mind when you write for Bond? Do you hear echoes of Connery or Moore when you write for Bond as protagonist?
Mon Apr 24 18:36:57 2000 rbenson {public msg} No, I don`t. I envision the guy I pictured when I first read the Fleming books, and it wasn`t Connery.
Mon Apr 24 18:37:17 2000 rbenson {public msg} I suppose he`s probably closer to the UK comic strips Bond
Mon Apr 24 18:37:40 2000 rbenson {public msg} However, many people tell me that they hear “Pierce Brosnan saying those lines” or they hear “Sean Connery saying those lines”
Mon Apr 24 18:37:43 2000 rbenson {public msg} Maybe…
Mon Apr 24 18:37:49 2000 rbenson {public msg} I`m sure Pierce influences the novelizations
Mon Apr 24 18:37:53 2000 rbenson {public msg} (end)
Mon Apr 24 18:37:59 2000 icebreaker {public msg} Do you have any idea why the Spanish press insisted on stating you were doing research at Gibraltar for the next Bond movie?
Mon Apr 24 18:38:26 2000 rbenson {public msg} They either got it wrong or they wanted to inflate its importance? I don`t know… it was annoying… 🙂 (end)
Mon Apr 24 18:38:33 2000 icebreaker {public msg} This is a 3 part question. #1 Were you scheduled to testify at Kevin McClory`s trial and if so, did you? #2 If you did, are you free to summarize what your testimony was, and if you did not testify, can you tell us what your tesitimony might have been? #3 And do you think we have finally seen the last of him?
Mon Apr 24 18:39:06 2000 rbenson {public msg} Well, I hope we`ve seen the last of him… I think all I can say is that I was an expert witness on the MGM side, but I was never called to testify.
Mon Apr 24 18:39:07 2000 rbenson {public msg} (end)
Mon Apr 24 18:39:29 2000 icebreaker {public msg} I think we all hope we`ve heard the last of him
Mon Apr 24 18:39:39 2000 icebreaker {public msg} Where does SPECTRE fit in all of this?
Mon Apr 24 18:39:50 2000 icebreaker {public msg} Can you use the organization?
Mon Apr 24 18:39:52 2000 icebreaker {public msg} end
Mon Apr 24 18:40:02 2000 rbenson {public msg} SPECTRE could still be used in the books… but I prefer not to.
Mon Apr 24 18:40:22 2000 rbenson {public msg} I have the Union now, which in a way is my version of SPECTRE.
Mon Apr 24 18:40:23 2000 rbenson {public msg} (end)
Mon Apr 24 18:40:30 2000 icebreaker {public msg} I think that is the best course
Mon Apr 24 18:40:39 2000 icebreaker {public msg} SPECTRE was good, but they`ve had their day in the sun
Mon Apr 24 18:40:46 2000 icebreaker {public msg} the next question
Mon Apr 24 18:37:25 2000 bondfan {ask} Did you work with Jaguar the way that Gardner worked with Saab?
Mon Apr 24 18:41:18 2000 rbenson {public msg} Yes I did… I worked with an engineer in the UK who helped me with all the `extras`, which despite some of the criticism are all entirely possible
Mon Apr 24 18:41:39 2000 rbenson {public msg} all of those things, including the flying scout, the pigment-changing paint, are all possible
Mon Apr 24 18:41:43 2000 rbenson {public msg} (end)
Mon Apr 24 18:41:48 2000 icebreaker {public msg} wow!
Mon Apr 24 18:41:53 2000 icebreaker {public msg} Did not know that!
Mon Apr 24 18:41:59 2000 icebreaker {public msg} Actually Raymond
Mon Apr 24 18:42:12 2000 icebreaker {public msg} I think you picked the best runner up to the Aston that anyone could
Mon Apr 24 18:42:20 2000 rbenson {public msg} I doubt I`ll be using the Jag again
Mon Apr 24 18:42:27 2000 icebreaker {public msg} it`s a shame that EON doesn`t use the Jag
Mon Apr 24 18:42:28 2000 rbenson {public msg} Time to move on… (end)
Mon Apr 24 18:40:01 2000 suzy {ask} Hello, Michael…it`s Suzy…took me forever to get here…Hello, Raymond
Mon Apr 24 18:42:40 2000 icebreaker {public msg} hey Suzy
Mon Apr 24 18:42:46 2000 icebreaker {public msg} glad you could come

Mon Apr 24 18:41:40 2000 suzy {ask} RB, could you say something about the significance of the title “Doubelshot”?

Mon Apr 24 18:43:30 2000 rbenson {public msg} It`s just a play on the “doubles” concept that runs thematically throughout the book
Mon Apr 24 18:43:40 2000 rbenson {public msg} It wasn`t my title
Mon Apr 24 18:43:44 2000 rbenson {public msg} But I think it works
Mon Apr 24 18:43:46 2000 rbenson {public msg} (end)
Mon Apr 24 18:44:20 2000 icebreaker {public msg} Critics, fans and John Gardner himself all seemed to agree that he had done a few too many books by the time he stopped. Do you have a limit to how many you want to do in order to have made your mark in the series?
Mon Apr 24 18:44:47 2000 rbenson {public msg} Not sure how to answer that one… I suppose if I felt they were getting stale, I`d let them be…
Mon Apr 24 18:44:56 2000 rbenson {public msg} I`d be proud, though, to have done 14… no small feat
Mon Apr 24 18:45:10 2000 rbenson {public msg} (end)
Mon Apr 24 18:45:35 2000 icebreaker {public msg} I ask because Gardner has been on record as having wanted to stop back at #6 but never did
Mon Apr 24 18:45:43 2000 icebreaker {public msg} end
Mon Apr 24 18:45:48 2000 rbenson {public msg} I`m not aware of that (end)
Mon Apr 24 18:46:12 2000 icebreaker {public msg} we are getting lots of questions so hold tight a second

Mon Apr 24 18:32:39 2000 nated3og {ask} to rbenson, I have noticed that your wrighting is similar but inexorably different than Ian Flemming. Are you tring to meet Mr. Fleming`s style, or surpass it with your own blend of wrighting?

Mon Apr 24 18:46:47 2000 rbenson {public msg} I could never meet Fleming`s style, nor do I try to do so
Mon Apr 24 18:46:52 2000 rbenson {public msg} I hold him in very high regard
Mon Apr 24 18:47:11 2000 rbenson {public msg} If any of his style creeps into my books, I can only think it`s because I know his books so well
Mon Apr 24 18:47:28 2000 rbenson {public msg} I think the correct term is that I try to capture the SPIRIT of his books
Mon Apr 24 18:47:34 2000 rbenson {public msg} I certainly can`t write like him
Mon Apr 24 18:47:39 2000 rbenson {public msg} I`d be foolish to think I could
Mon Apr 24 18:47:43 2000 rbenson {public msg} (end)
Mon Apr 24 18:43:07 2000 bondfan {ask} If not the Jag, then what car–the DB7?
Mon Apr 24 18:48:16 2000 rbenson {public msg} I have no idea what car at this point… in my upcoming book, the one I`ll write this summer, Bond will need a car…
Mon Apr 24 18:48:27 2000 rbenson {public msg} in my outline, he`s driving the Jag, but doesn`t use any of the extras at all
Mon Apr 24 18:48:36 2000 rbenson {public msg} Maybe I`ll do that, but maybe I`ll find a new car…
Mon Apr 24 18:48:40 2000 rbenson {public msg} Don`t know yet (end)
Mon Apr 24 18:42:20 2000 bondfan {ask} Let me just reiterate that the Union is a fitting successor, and am I wrong is surmising that we are in store for quite a confrontation in the next book bewteen 007 and Le Gerant
Mon Apr 24 18:49:02 2000 rbenson {public msg} You are quite correct! 🙂 (end)
Mon Apr 24 18:40:41 2000 yankee {ask} As a fan, do you find that reading the scripts of the new films before they are released spoils your enjoyment of them? Or does it pique your interest to see what the final fims will look like?
Mon Apr 24 18:49:38 2000 rbenson {public msg} That`s a tough one… you see, I have to write a NOVEL based on the script before I ever see any of the film
Mon Apr 24 18:49:46 2000 rbenson {public msg} So, I`ve already got a film inside my head
Mon Apr 24 18:49:53 2000 rbenson {public msg} Before I see the real film
Mon Apr 24 18:50:04 2000 rbenson {public msg} So, ultimately, what I see on the screen is different from what I picture
Mon Apr 24 18:50:11 2000 rbenson {public msg} It can`t be helped
Mon Apr 24 18:50:28 2000 rbenson {public msg} I`m sure it effects my enjoyment, but it doesn`t mean I DON`T enjoy them
Mon Apr 24 18:50:31 2000 rbenson {public msg} (end)

Mon Apr 24 18:44:06 2000 yankee {ask} Can you give us any tid-bits about the 3rd book in the trilogy?
Mon Apr 24 18:50:52 2000 rbenson {public msg} Hmmmm…..
Mon Apr 24 18:51:00 2000 rbenson {public msg} It takes place mostly in France and Corsica
Mon Apr 24 18:51:06 2000 rbenson {public msg} Marc-Ange Draco will return
Mon Apr 24 18:51:16 2000 rbenson {public msg} Le Gerant and Bond face off
Mon Apr 24 18:51:30 2000 rbenson {public msg} There`s a significant love story angle
Mon Apr 24 18:51:50 2000 rbenson {public msg} There will be a show business angle
Mon Apr 24 18:51:53 2000 rbenson {public msg} (end)
Mon Apr 24 18:49:33 2000 suzy {ask} Will the next novel round out the “trilogy” and be the end of the Union?
Mon Apr 24 18:52:24 2000 rbenson {public msg} That one I can`t answer here! You`ll have to wait and see! 🙂 (end)
Mon Apr 24 18:52:29 2000 rbenson {action: } smirks.
Mon Apr 24 18:52:34 2000 rbenson {action: } grins evilly.
Mon Apr 24 18:52:41 2000 rbenson {public msg} I meant to grin evilly, not smirk.
Mon Apr 24 18:52:42 2000 icebreaker {public msg} suzy, you know better than to ask that question GIRL! 🙂
Mon Apr 24 18:45:25 2000 bondfan {ask} How many more books are you contracted for right now?
Mon Apr 24 18:53:17 2000 rbenson {public msg} the contracts are usually 3 at a time, so I`m about to begin the first one in a new contract of 3
Mon Apr 24 18:53:26 2000 rbenson {public msg} (end)
Mon Apr 24 18:53:37 2000 icebreaker {public msg} Bondfan has a question about Draco
Mon Apr 24 18:51:58 2000 bondfan {ask} Wait a second–isn`t Draco dead, as Gardner pointed out in Nobody Lives Forever.
Mon Apr 24 18:54:14 2000 rbenson {public msg} If he did, both Glidrose and I missed it! At any rate, I am free to use or ignore anything Gardner did
Mon Apr 24 18:54:32 2000 rbenson {public msg} For example, I never went with the way he changed MI6
Mon Apr 24 18:54:35 2000 rbenson {public msg} in his later books
Mon Apr 24 18:54:51 2000 rbenson {public msg} We demoted him back to Commander because it sounds beter
Mon Apr 24 18:54:53 2000 rbenson {public msg} better
Mon Apr 24 18:55:07 2000 rbenson {public msg} As far as I`m concerned, Draco`s alive and well…
Mon Apr 24 18:55:09 2000 rbenson {public msg} (end)
Mon Apr 24 18:55:34 2000 icebreaker {public msg} Do you get unsolicited submissions from people wanting to get their story ideas into your books and if so, how do you answer them?
Mon Apr 24 18:55:57 2000 rbenson {public msg} I am not allowed to read unsolicited submissions… if I get anything that remotely looks like one, I delete it
Mon Apr 24 18:55:59 2000 rbenson {public msg} (end)
Mon Apr 24 18:44:22 2000 bondfan {ask} What would you have chosen as the titles for your books?
Mon Apr 24 18:56:36 2000 rbenson {public msg} My original title for Zero Minus Ten was “No Tears for Hong Kong”
Mon Apr 24 18:56:49 2000 rbenson {public msg} For The Facts of Death, believe it or not, it was “The World is Not Enough”!
Mon Apr 24 18:57:06 2000 rbenson {public msg} For “High Time to Kill” it was “A Better Way to Die”
Mon Apr 24 18:57:20 2000 rbenson {public msg} for Doubleshot, it was “Doppelganger” and then “Reflections in a Broken Glass”
Mon Apr 24 18:57:31 2000 rbenson {public msg} Actually, I think that the next novel will have my suggested title
Mon Apr 24 18:57:35 2000 rbenson {public msg} for once
Mon Apr 24 18:57:41 2000 rbenson {public msg} Never Dream of Dying
Mon Apr 24 18:57:44 2000 rbenson {public msg} (end)
Mon Apr 24 18:57:51 2000 icebreaker {public msg} can we quote you on that?
Mon Apr 24 18:57:53 2000 icebreaker {public msg} end
Mon Apr 24 18:57:55 2000 icebreaker {public msg} end
Mon Apr 24 18:58:13 2000 rbenson {public msg} I suppose… let`s just say for now that`s what it is, and the publishers haven`t objected
Mon Apr 24 18:58:15 2000 rbenson {public msg} (end)
Mon Apr 24 18:58:21 2000 icebreaker {public msg} sounds very good.
Mon Apr 24 18:58:25 2000 icebreaker {public msg} and if I may
Mon Apr 24 18:58:37 2000 icebreaker {public msg} put in a gratuitous plug for my own site, you can find all of Raymond`s
Mon Apr 24 18:58:56 2000 icebreaker {public msg} original titles plus Ian`s and John`s in the What Was The Title section-end
Mon Apr 24 18:59:33 2000 icebreaker {public msg} Okay, we are almost out of time. Please bear with me for one second as I peruse the last sets of questions.
Mon Apr 24 18:58:25 2000 suzy {ask} Will you be doing research for your next novel when in Paris for your book-signing?
Mon Apr 24 19:00:49 2000 rbenson {public msg} Yes I will! along with some other areas of France (end)

Mon Apr 24 19:01:30 2000 icebreaker {public msg} Here is our last question of the evening…from a mysterious spy down in Gainesville FL
Mon Apr 24 18:59:59 2000 spy {ask} If for whatever reason Bond had to be killed off in a novel, how might you plot/portray his death?
Mon Apr 24 19:01:46 2000 rbenson {public msg} That will never happen!
Mon Apr 24 19:01:51 2000 rbenson {public msg} Old age?
Mon Apr 24 19:02:04 2000 rbenson {action: } grins evilly.
Mon Apr 24 19:02:10 2000 rbenson {public msg} (end)
Mon Apr 24 19:02:20 2000 icebreaker {public msg} Thanks Raymond. This might be a good time
Mon Apr 24 19:02:39 2000 icebreaker {public msg} to let everyone know when and where to pick up copies of Doubleshot and any book signings in the future
Mon Apr 24 19:02:44 2000 icebreaker {public msg} end
Mon Apr 24 19:02:51 2000 rbenson {public msg} It`s available now in the UK
Mon Apr 24 19:02:59 2000 rbenson {public msg} It should be available in the US the first week of June
Mon Apr 24 19:03:16 2000 rbenson {public msg} I`m doing a signing in London on May 6 at noon at Adrian Harrington Bookshop
Mon Apr 24 19:03:21 2000 rbenson {public msg} 64a Kensington Church St.
Mon Apr 24 19:03:38 2000 rbenson {public msg} I`m doing a signing at an English-language bookshop in Paris on May 10 at 7:30pm
Mon Apr 24 19:03:42 2000 rbenson {public msg} WH Smith Paris
Mon Apr 24 19:03:47 2000 rbenson {public msg} 248 Rue de Rivoli
Mon Apr 24 19:03:52 2000 rbenson {public msg} then… back home
Mon Apr 24 19:03:58 2000 rbenson {public msg} in the Chicago area
Mon Apr 24 19:04:11 2000 rbenson {public msg} June 10, Barnes & Noble, Arlington Heights, 2pm
Mon Apr 24 19:04:26 2000 rbenson {public msg} June 14, Borders Michigan Avenue, Chicago, 7pm
Mon Apr 24 19:04:33 2000 rbenson {public msg} that`s all I know of for now
Mon Apr 24 19:04:35 2000 rbenson {public msg} (end)
Mon Apr 24 19:04:30 2000 suzy {ask} Can`t wait for Doubleshot, RB…a toute a l`heure, alligateur 🙂
Mon Apr 24 19:04:55 2000 rbenson {public msg} Thanks, it`s been fun!
Mon Apr 24 19:05:01 2000 icebreaker {public msg} Okay, thanks again Raymond for coming
Mon Apr 24 19:05:06 2000 icebreaker {public msg} thanks everyone
Mon Apr 24 19:05:06 2000 rbenson {action: } waves at everyone.
Mon Apr 24 19:05:08 2000 icebreaker {public msg} for showing up
Mon Apr 24 19:05:09 2000 rbenson {action: } faints dead away.
Mon Apr 24 19:05:12 2000 icebreaker {public msg} you were great
Mon Apr 24 19:05:13 2000 willply {public msg} Great work both of you. Very nice chat! (MIC OFF)
Mon Apr 24 19:05:16 2000 icebreaker {public msg} raymond was great
Mon Apr 24 19:05:23 2000 rbenson {public msg} thanks
Mon Apr 24 19:05:27 2000 willply {public msg} Both of you were.
Mon Apr 24 19:05:36 2000 icebreaker {public msg} and we`ll see you next month with Patrick Bauchau from A View To A Kill
Mon Apr 24 19:05:38 2000 icebreaker {public msg} Bye for now!

author interview – Joseph Garber: On The “Run”

In 1995 a killer of a thriller called “Vertical Run” made it`s debut on The New York Times and USA Today bestsellers lists, eventually reaching #1 on both lists. Itwas written by a relatively unknown writer named Joseph Garber. While he`d had success with the 1989 book “Rascal Money”, as well as writing literary criticisms for The San Francisco Review of Books and as a columnist for Forbes magazine, nothing he had done could have prepared readers for what they were to find within the pages of “Vertical Run”, a tale so frightening in it`s possibility that it makes the hairs on your neck stand on end just reading it.

The premise of Vertical Run is to question what might happen if one day you woke up and found that everyone you met during the course of your day tried to kill you. Friends, family, coworkers…they all want you dead for no apparent reason and time is running. These are exactly the prospects the hero of the book, David Elliot, a Fortune 500 exec, faces one morning. But lucky for David, he`s had training as a special operations agent courtesy of the U.S. government and if he`s going to die, he`s not going to die alone.

In Joseph Garber`s 1999 follow up novel “In A Perfect State”, he once again visits this premise, but this time he tinkers with the hero a bit. Jack Taft, another executive for a prosperous company, is on a business trip to Singapore, upon when landing, realizes he`s the target of an international assassination squad, with dozens of different factions wanting him dead–now! Unlike David Elliot, Jack Taft has no special training to fall back on and has run from every personal problem life has ever thrown at him. If he doesn`t dig deep and find the skills inside of himself to survive, he`ll be dead by dawn.

If Mr. Garber was interested in the prospect, he could easily become the Ian Fleming of the new millenium, cranking out thrillers based on the exploits of our `Run` hero David Elliot. He knows how to grab your attention and keep it as he ratchets up the tension notch by notch until the reader can barely take it anymore. Vertical Run is the type of thriller Ian Fleming would be proud of. Garber has created the most exciting and dynamic hero to be found on the printed pages since the mid-50`s Fleming novels. Not even Tom Clancy`s Jack Ryan is as energizing and invigorating as David Elliot.

If you haven`t read “Vertical Run” or “In A Perfect State”, what are you waiting for? “Vertical Run” can be ordered from and “In A Perfect State” can be ordered from

The following interview contains SPOILERS! If you have not read the books you are advised to read them before proceeding any further.

MK: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

JG: Being a classic “Type A” corporate workaholic, I`ve had little in the way of a personal life. For this reason, I tend to be a private person in the small amount of private life I`ve managed to accumulate. I think the points that are germane to my novels are that I took my undergraduate degree in philosophy (which is why ethical questions pervade my novels), put in time at Columbia Law School (that`s the reason why every book I write contains at least one lawyer joke), and went through the Stanford Business School`s mid-career executive program (the experience convinced me to get try my hand at writing!).

MK: You are somewhat fascinated by the idea of an “everyman” waking up one day and finding himself in incredible life threatening situations, with no logical reason why and seemingly impossible to get out of. What kind of influences in literature or film do you credit for this?

JG: I certainly had Hitchcock in mind when I wrote Vertical Run. And surely I was influenced by the late Geoffrey Household whose man-on-the-run thrillers are the best ever written (try his Dance of The Dwarves, which is the scariest novel I have ever read). However, the fundamental premise of Vertical Run is pretty much of my own concocting. I framed it as the ultimate paranoid nightmare: suppose everybody in the world wants you dead; worse, suppose they`ve got a really good reason…

Further, if you`re a corporate guy, you`ve got to deal with corporate politics. No matter how nice you are, no matter how hard you try, you are going to wind up with enemies who want you out of the way. To some extent Vertical Run was inspired by taking that unfortunate fact of business life and carrying it to its utmost extreme.

MK: Did you have any difficulties in pitching Vertical Run to the publishers? What is the process like for getting a manuscript in the door?

JG: My agent did all the pitchwork on the book, and more than earned her fees. The book received 14 rejection slips, by the way. Most frustrating because both she and I thought it was a slam dunk and easy sale.

There`s a cute story here: when she first got the manuscript, my agent put it in the trunk of her car prior to going upstate for the weekend. Then she drove to her office, parked outside, and dashed upstairs for a few minutes. By the time she got back (welcome to New York), the car had been burglarized, and the manuscript was gone.

The burglar dumped it (along with other stuff he didn`t want) on the street in Queens. A hairdresser found it, and read it over the weekend. On Monday he called my agent and told her that he had it, and would be happy to return it. She offered him a reward for his trouble. He declined. She insisted. To which he replied, “The only reward I want is a signed copy of the book, because it`s the best thriller I`ve ever read.” So my agent knew she had hit… and the hairdresser DEFINITELY got a signed copy.

As for getting a manuscript in front of a publisher — well, the agent knows editors at all the publishing houses, and knows what fits their tastes. So she calls them with a pitch, sending the thing over if they sniff at the bait. If you are an unknown writer, you absolutely have to have a credible agent or nothing is going to happen. Agents are the rainmakers. Unfortunately, in these days of megaconglomeration, it`s tougher than ever to get an editor to take a risk on a writer no one has ever heard of.

MK: What`s your take on the mega-mergers such as AOL buying out Time Warner? What are the dangers, if any, of a company becoming that big?

JG: Consolidation is driven by a host of natural economic forces. For example, back around 1905 we had more than 500 automobile companies in this country; they had to join or die. Software companies acquire other software companies all the time (especially in the mainframe segment); here the issue is that it usually is much cheaper to buy rather than build. Acquisitions happen constantly in the business world — there are more than 35,000 a year. Within any given industry segment, a large number of acquisitions usually is a sign of the maturation and flattening — when natural or “organic” revenue growth slows, you have little choice other than to acquire smaller companies. Alas, those of us who lived through a similar wave of merger mania back in the early `70`s remember well that the majority of deals don`t work too well, and ultimately fall apart. Marry in haste, repent at leisure…

Speaking personally, I figure AOL is in for some surprises — the business practices and management skills it takes to run a creative enterprise (especially one involving film and TV) are not easy. Sony lost billions on Columbia before sorting things out. Panasonic did not have a happy experience with Universal (nor, it appears, is Seagrams). And of course TransAmerica`s experience with Hollywood is the stuff of legends — remember “Heaven`s Gate.”

Over the short term, I expect much sound and fury as various companies get eaten up — but then the eaters will have to digest the eaten. Upset tummies may be the very least of it.

MK: You said in another interview that you first conceived of the idea for Vertical Run back in 1976 when your office building was being evacuated due to a bomb long did that idea sit with you until you got serious about writing it into a thriller?

JG: Actually, the evacuations were in 1978-1979. I started writing Vertical Run in 1981, and got about a third of the way into it. Then a catastrophic computer failure wiped out all the work I did. No recovery. All gone. I was so frustrated I didn`t get back to the tale for 12 years.

Although I did learn to start backing up my disks…

MK: Was David Elliott the original hero of your book or did you have a different character in mind?

JG: Dave was the hero from day one.

MK: What kind of ideas did you originally have for the book that ended up being taken out by the publishers? For example, you`ve mentioned that the German edition is much darker than any other is; can you elaborate?

JG: The principal difference between my original version and what was published in this country is that Dave died at the end of the original version — as did Marge. The publisher (hoping for a sequel, no doubt) and Warner Brothers both wanted them to live. Insofar as Warner Brothers was paying quite good money for the service, I added the scene in which Marge is discovered alive and rescued, and added a single page ending that keeps Dave alive. The Germans liked the original, darker version and, with my permission, published it. In the final analysis, I think keeping both characters alive was a good choice — it delivers extra surprises and lets readers close the book with satisfied grins on their faces.

MK: What kind of research did you draw upon for creating David`s back-story in Vietnam and the big surprise he finds at Lockyear?

JG: I served in the Army in the 1960`s. Dave`s backstory arises from tales told me by various hardcases I met, and from some photographs taken of an episode that mirrors the climax of that backstory. The guys who took those photographs got, as Mamba Jack would say, “disappeared.”

As for the surprise at Lockyear, I`ve always been aware of the incredibly ghastly experiments conducted by Shiro Ishii and Unit 731 during World War II. The Japanese army used Chinese civilians and both American and British POWs as lab rats in a horribly large number of unspeakable medical tests. All of this was covered up quite thoroughly by American war crimes investigators, and it struck me as obvious that the reason for the coverup was that our nation wanted to get its hands on the Japanese research results. Now, fifty-five years after the fact, we know that is precisely what happened. Ed Regis just published a book called “The Biology of Doom” where, via the Freedom of Information Act, he tracks down the details. Read it and your blood will turn to ice.

MK: You mentioned that you had in mind Harrison Ford as David and Clint Eastwood as Ransom at some point during the writing. Did you have anyone specific in mind for the characters of Marge or Helen? What about Bernie or Harry Halliwell?

JG: Actually, I`ve always though Mel Gibson would make a more credible Dave — he`s the only actor I know who really is believable when he talks to himself. As for minor characters like Helen, Bernie, and Harry, I never gave them any thought. They are pretty standard New York City critters, people you see on the street every day, and could be played by any number of minor-part actors. In my mind Marge looks one heck of a lot like the young Olivia Goldsmith (author of The First Wives Club), a feisty New York dame who, long ago, was a friend and co-worker.

MK: Was there ever any suggestion made that perhaps the Marge character should become more romantically involved with David than she was or that she should be in more of the book?

JG: Nope. There`s no time for sex in the book. Hell, there`s barely time for lust.

MK: One of the more colorful passages in the book is where David has to escape the hookers and then infiltrate Senterex right under Ransom`s nose, all the while trying to come off as a limp wristed wimp to avoid detection. With words used such as “queer”, “pansy boy”, “faggot”, “cupcake”, “plaid rabbit” and “Smurf”, how did you get this past the publishers? After all, the 90`s were a very politically correct decade. Did they have any objections?

JG: No objections at all. The homophobia is all on the bad guys side (likewise the racism). Dave, who is an ex-soldier, is playing to the bigotries of people he knows are the worst sort of redneck pinheads. Anyone who was in the Army back when I was (as were Dave, Ransome, and his crew) probably at least once saw some lifer NCO go ballistic when somebody jokingly called him “fag.” Knowing this, Dave caricaturizes his enemies` prejudices, turning them into a weapon against them.

MK: Did you receive any mail from gay rights groups upset with the way you had David portray a gay man?

JG: Again, no. Quite the contrary. I was especially pleased when a gay literary critic for one of the major newspapers recognized the device for what it really says about bigotry and stereotypes, and singled out that section out for positive comment.

MK: The impression I received at the end of `Run` was that David was either selfish and only looking out for himself and that`s why he took off to Mount Excelsior or he just got lucky. After all, he didn`t know about the microbe`s mortality parameters when he took off to Excelsior. And yet you`ve maintained that he went there to die. In retrospect could this have been made clearer to the reader or is it somewhat vague so that the readers can draw their own conclusion?

JG: Hmmm. I intended to portray Dave`s motive as a wish to die with honor, to die alone, and to die in a way that did no harm. Remember, he knows the microbe cannot survive long outside a human host (Ransome makes this very clear). And so by going into the wilderness, he planned a death that would insure the infection would not spread.

MK: The end of the book also gives one the feeling that David, Jack and Marge are going to team up and plot revenge. Is that the intention, or just a reader reading too much into the story?

JG: If I were writing a script for the movie, the final scene would be as follows:

The San Francisco skyline.

Zoom into the black-glassed Bank of America Tower.

Long shot of a man walking through an office lobby with very visible signage reading “The Specialist Consulting Group.”

Tracking shot of the same man down a plush office corridor.

Medium shot as he enters a conference room.

Interior of the conference room — it is dark, smoky, lit from above so that all faces are in shadow. The man we`ve tracked mutters an apology for being late, and takes his seat.

Long shot down the length of the conference table. The man at the head of the conference table says, “Try to be on time.” Pause. “Okay, people, we`ve got a problem.” He waves a piece of paper. “I`ve just got a fax from HQ. It says that the Lockyear microbe is highly oxygen dependent. It says that anyone infected with the microbe who climbs into a thin oxygen environment may have a high probability of survival. Now we`ve tracked that bastard Elliot…”

Close shot of the speaker, he looks up.

Shot of the conference room door. A man backlit in shadow is standing there. Cut to man at the head of the table, “Yes?” Backlit man replies, “Oh sorry, wrong meeting room.”

Medium shot down conference table. Man at head of the table says, “Close the door behind you.”

Audible click as he continues, “Now as I was saying, if he survived, it is conceivable that Elliot will try to revenge himself…” There is a thump on the conference room table. Heads turn. A hissing hand grenade rolls into view. The man at the head of the table whispers, “Oh shit!”

Black out.

Roll the final credits.

MK: Has Doubleday or Bantam suggested to you that they would like for you to write a sequel to Vertical Run? To write more adventures based on the character of David Elliot?

JG: No. My relationship with that company has ended. Permanently.

MK: Where do you think David might be today, or do you not give it much thought?

JG: Really, I want that question to be answered by readers. I think whatever sequels and followups they concoct in their own minds are much more interesting than anything I might come up with.

MK: As you know Jon Peters is producing Vertical Run for Warner Brothers and it looks like Paul Hunter may direct. Have you spoken directly with anyone involved in the production of the film and if not do you anticipate having any input?

JG: I had a memorable lunch with Jon when Warners was buying the rights. It`s lawyers were insisting on preposterous contractual obligations, and I was quite prepared to walk away from the deal. Jon squelched `em. Since then, I`ve had no contact whatsoever with the film project.

A movie is the work of many hands. A book is a one man job. Books and films are two wholly different planets, and the citizens of one planet do not necessarily collaborate well with the citizens of the other. So, if the film is made, the most I anticipate is being invited to spend a day on the set and receiving an invitation to the premier (although, I suspect, the seat I`m assigned will not be the best in the house!)

MK: If you can tell us, what kind of rights exactly does Warner Brothers have on Vertical Run? The right to make a franchise out of the David Elliot character?

JG: The Warner contract states they have the rights to David Elliot “in perpetuity throughout the universe, and elsewhere.” They can make as many Dave Elliot movies as they want. Tom Clancy has the same problem with the hero of his books. Paramount can use Jack Ryan any way they want. This is pretty standard stuff in Hollywood. I doubt if any novelist escapes it

MK: What was your reaction when you first found out Vertical Run had made the top of several best sellers lists? Did you ever anticipate the kind of success Vertical Run had? There were even television commercials for the book, which is something you don`t see very often.

JG: Ah, a boyhood dream! From the age of sixteen onwards, I wanted to make the New York Times bestseller list. I was simply thrilled by the whole experience — it was like winning the lottery.

MK: As you are aware, the David Fincher/Michael Douglas 1997 film “The Game”, which I personally love, contains a lot of similarities with Vertical Run, though your novel clearly came out first. In both film and book you`ve got a middle aged businessman on the run for his life, dogged by a shadowy organization that wants him dead, for reasons he cannot understand, he can`t trust friends or family, and all the while being aided and abetted somewhat by a beautiful woman. And to a lesser extent, Will Smith`s “Enemy of the State” covers similar ground. Have you seen the films and if so, did you like them? And what will it take to keep Vertical Run different and fresh from these other films?

JG: I very much enjoy Fincher`s work — he`s a gifted director who knows how to block a scene, frame brilliant atmospherics, extract strong performances from the cast, and cut a montage that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Everything he`s made has great depth.

I think Vertical Run would be better as a director`s film rather than a formula action flick. Most of the conflict in the book is interior, and but for a few set pieces, the real battles go on inside Dave`s head. So I would prefer a small pyrotechnics budget, and rather see a tight psychological thriller built around an actor who can truly show paranoid fear. I think De Palma would make a good director. As would Fincher.

MK: Getting to the subject of James Bond..the way David looks at Marge…the thoughts he has towards her…one minute he could make love to her and the very next he punches her lights out…kind of reminds me of the Sean Connery era as Bond. The “love `em and leave `em” attitude Connery`s Bond had. Do you have a favorite Bond or Bond film?

JG: Ha! I hadn`t thought of that. But Dave definitely is not a love `em and leave `em type. He`s really trying to protect Marge — and also trying to escape the temptation she represents.

By any measure my favorite Bond movie is From Russia With Love. It kept closely to the novel, yet added an extra dimensions of thrills. Robert Shaw was perfect (and perfectly terrifying) as the unstoppable bad guy, and Connery was supported all around by very strong actors. I`d say the Bond novel that I liked most was the first I read: Doctor No. It was such a revelation — the outrageous velocity of the thing and meeting a character as fascinating as Bond for the first time. It left a permanent impression on me.

MK: What are your impressions of Ian Fleming and his novels?

JG: Fleming was a great entertainer and a natural story teller. These are honorable, although undervalued, professions. The guy had a fluid entrancing style, a vivid imagination, and subtle wit. You could tell he had a great deal of fun writing his novels — and, therefore, the rest of us have a great deal of fun reading them.

MK: Ever thought about what it might be like to write the Bond novels?

JG: I am not a fast writer and could never do a series. Pumping out a new book every year is beyond my talents. Moreover, I am obsessed with photographic realism for my settings and stage props. All the scenery in everything I`ve written is so real that I could take you step-by-step through every locale I`ve written about. The Bond books with their exotic settings would drive me nuts. I`d spend all my time researching and mapping out routes, and none of it writing! I`d be a disaster at that job.

MK: So if the publishers were to ever contact you to gauge your interest in writing for Bond, what would be your answer?

JG: That I like James Bond too much to see him die in so horrible a fashion.

MK: The character of Jack Taft in In A Perfect State (Garber`s next book after Vertical Run) is the complete opposite of David Elliot in terms of self esteem, athleticism, etc. How much of yourself do you incorporate into the heroes, or is it purely fictional?

JG: Purely fictional. Dave is a resourceful, highly trained professional with combat experience. In thinking about what to write next, almost the first question I asked myself was: what would happen if an ordinary peaceful civilian with no training suddenly found himself in a fight for his life? So when Jack Taft is surrounded by a small army of gun-toting thugs his reaction is to throw up his hands and scream, “I surrender.” Which is exactly what most of us would do. Unfortunately for Jack, this doesn`t work too well…

MK: When friends of yours read Vertical Run or In A Perfect State, might they recognize themselves in one of your characters?

JG: I doubt it. The only real person who (in both looks and personality) appears in my books is Thatcher — and Thatcher IS Mark Twain.

MK: Tell us a little about your next novel “Alexander`s End”. What can fans expect from this book?

JG: Alexander`s End is the story of a professional assassin — a late Renaissance master killer who also is a loving husband and father, a gentle philosopher, and generous patron of the arts. But also utterly ruthless in his work. I think of the story as being something of a hybrid between “Day of the Jackal” and “The Name of the Rose.” I want readers to be thrilled by the adventure of it — but also driven to think about the questions of ethics and morality a man like Alexander raises.

MK: What plans do you have after “Alexander`s End”?

JG: Next up will be “The Object of Her Wrath,” a contemporary thriller with the scariest premise I can imagine — truly, the few people to whom I`ve told it have winced and gone white. I started the book three years ago, but had problems which I think I`m now prepared to resolve. Like I said, I am not at fast writer. Not at all.

MK: If you can, briefly explain to fans why In A Perfect State was not released in the United States?

JG: The answer would make a great substitute for Sominex. It`s tied up in contracts, legalese, and the business practices of the publishing industry — truly boring stuff.

MK: Do you anticipate Alexanders End and Object of Her Wrath will receive a U.S. distribution?

JG: I hope so, but it is much too early for me even to guess.

Gary Giblin: From London With Love is pleased to present this exclusive interview with Gary Giblin, author of James Bond’s London.

Jordan Charter: Tell us about yourself.

Gary Giblin: I’m 42 and married to a wonderful woman, an English teacher, named Lisa. I live in the midwestern state of Indiana, in the house I grew up in. I have been writing on Bond for the last six years, which includes consulting work for MGM/UA. I used to work as a National Trainer for the Encyclopaedia Britannica company and my degree is in education. I love movies, travel, linguistics, mystery novels, and all things British, especially Bond and Hitchcock.

Jordan: How and when did you get into Bond?

Gary: I have always been a memorabilia collector and in 1974, at the age of 15, I decided to start collecting Bond—posters, books, toys, etc. I started writing a Bond reference book in college—but (un)fortunately, Raymond Benson beat me to it! (But his book is a gem, so I can’t complain.) In any case, I’ve been addicted to both the movies and the books ever since.

Jordan: What made you decide to write a book like this?

Gary: I have always been interested in identifying and visiting film and TV locations and so on a whim, I prepared a short guide for Lee Pfeiffer’s Let’s Bond in Britain Tour in 1997. It proved popular enough that Lee suggested I expand it into a book. I’m thrilled that more and more people enjoy reliving a favorite film through its locations.

Jordan: Who was the biggest help in writing this book?

Gary: The biggest help was my wife, who read and re-read the book and made many helpful suggestions. After her, and not failing to mention my publishers’ contributions, I’d have to say that Bond production designer Peter Lamont was the greatest help. As I say in the book, he was never, ever too busy to take my calls and answer my questions—even during the production of TWINE. I cannot praise him enough. He is a genius and a marvel, and one of the nicest people I’ve ever known.

Jordan: You’ve said you spent three years on “James Bond’s London” and “James Bond’s Britain” so can you give us a rough outline of how that time was spent? (i.e. How much was used for research? How much was used for travel?)

Gary: I actually started the book in January of 1998 and shortly thereafter flew to the UK, where I spent about three weeks looking for and photographing locations for what was then called “James Bond’s Britain”. This meant that in addition to London, my assistant (and friend, and former boss!), Chris Gardner, and I traveled all over England and Scotland, including the rather remote spot where the From Russia With Love helicopter chase was filmed. I then continued writing and researching at home for a few months, then went back to London in the summer of ’98 for more legwork. I was finishing up the book in 1999 when Ilearned that TWINE was to include extensive London and UK location work. So, the decision was made to wait and include material from that film. Then in 2000, after TWINE, we decided that there was so much information that the book should be split in two. Thus began the rather arduous process of separating entries and creating the second book, James Bond’s Britain, which will be published in 2003 and will include the British locations from the new film.

Jordan: There are so many Bond locations in London, some of which have changed over the years, how did you go about locating all of them?

Gary: In several different ways. One way, of course, was to consult production documents and the filmmakers to find out where things were shot. In some cases, it involved me taking reference photos from the films and walking all over London till I found the spot (e.g., the building seen out the window of the big conference room in Thunderball.) In the case of the Secret Service HQ shown near the beginning of Dr. No, I used books of aerial photos of London to spot the complex, which, if you look closely, can be seen to be located on the river.

Jordan: Are there any Bond locations you couldn’t find?

Gary: Until I started talking with Peter Lamont, there were several! But after that, I’m pretty sure that every Greater London location ever shown in an EON film is included in the book.

Jordan: Which one location was your favorite or most interesting? Least favorite?

Gary: I have a number of favorites—including the office where Ian Fleming worked for Naval Intelligence during WWII. It had been taken over by the Foreign Office and used for storage, but thanks to some very kind people in that department, I was able to get inside, and even had the space in front of the fireplace cleared away so that I could “replicate” that famous photo of Ian standing there so regally in his Commander’s uniform. It was also thrilling to get inside Fleming’s office in Fleet Street and to visit the Royal Air Force base which has appeared in several Bond films, including Goldfinger, Octopussy and TWINE.

Jordan: How did you prepare for writing the book? Was there any sort of process you went through while writing it?

Gary: First I re-read every novel and story, taking detailed notes, and then I re-watched all the films, and, again, took copious notes. I also read as much on Fleming and the films as I could and then began making a location list and organizing it by district. Then I researched the places themselves, their histories, etc., so that the book might have a little extra appeal beyond simply saying, “Oh, this is where this was filmed and this is where Fleming got his shirts.” And, as I said, I spent several weeks in the UK and spoke with a number of people who were involved in the films, including Lamont, John Glen, John Stears and Reg Barkshire, Broccoli and Saltzman’s former partner on the EON board.

Jordan: For those who don’t know, tell us a little about “James Bond’s Britian” which will be released in 2003.

Gary: JBB will detail all the film, book and Fleming locations in the UK OUTSIDE London. This includes Pinewood Studios, the Aston Martin company, Fleming’s final resting place, the TWINE pipeline in Wales (and elsewhere), the Goldfinger and TND golf club, the Moonraker rocket site from the novel, Sean Connery’s birthplace, and on and on, as well as the many British locations from the new film, Die Another Day.

Jordan: Why such a big gap between the release of “London” and “Britian?” Weren’t they orignally going to be one volume?

Gary: Yes, but because there was so much material we decided to do it as two books. My original manuscript, without pictures, was over 400 pages. It was either cut a massive amount of text (to keep the book reasonably priced and easy to carry around London) or issue it in two parts. And this way, we can release the second part in about a year and so include all the new locations.

Jordan: You left out the locations of the non-Fleming novels. Was there ever any plans to include them? Or did you know from the get-go that you wanted to focus on Fleming’s Bond?

Gary: I am an unabashed Fleming fan and, I must say, defender. As far as I’m concerned, what he wrote is gospel–about Bond, his life and his world. So, no, I never intended to include anything from non-Fleming novels. What anyone else says about Bond—where he dines or drives or whatever—simply doesn’t mean anything to me. And it’s the same with the non-EON Bond films. None of this is to sleight the other writers or filmmakers. I respect what they have done. But for me, none of these works is truly “James Bond”.

Jordan: Since they will always be making Bond films, do you have any plans on keeping the book updated with the new locations?

Gary: Yes, I certainly envision updating the book.

Jordan: Do you have any plans on writing any more Bond location books? For instance, will there ever be a “James Bond’s America”or “James Bond’s Europe?” Having read “James Bond’s London” I would love to see more books of this nature from you and Daleon.

Gary: Yes, I have already started “James Bond’s America” and would like to do a “James Bond’s Europe” as well.

Jordan: Besides the meeting Mr. Snowman (see related articles at or, do you have any other stories about your trips abroad?

Gary: Finding the helicopter location from From Russia With Love was most memorable. Going solely on a remark in a Bond reference book, we went to Lochgilphead, Scotland…and just asked the locals. “Och, the helicopter!” They all knew the place, but getting there was still difficult…driving, parking, hiking, then trying to pick out the exact spot. And finally we spotted the rock where Connery crouched to shoot down the helicopter. And just below it, rusting there for over 25 years, was a piece of the helicopter!

Jordan: And finally, do you have any other books in the works?

Gary: Well, thanks for asking. As a matter of fact, my next book is Alfred Hitchcock’s London, which Daleon will publish later this year. It is similar in format to James Bond’s London, with locations from his 20-plus English films, as well as from his source novels and, of course, his life. It was written with the cooperation of several of his collaborators (including Bond production designer Syd Cain, who worked on Hitchcock’s Frenzy), as well as his daughter Pat.

Special acknowledgements for help with this article go to Lee Pfeiffer, Daniel Dykes, and, of course, Gary Giblin for allowing time for to interview him!–Jordan Charter

Read’s review of James Bond London here. Order your copy today from

live chat transcript – Don McGregor

007Forever is pleased to present the transcript from our live chat with comix legend Don McGregor, well known to Marvel and independent comix fans as a groundbreaking writer and pioneer and to Bond fans for his work as well. Don paused for about 90 minutes on the eve of his birthday to chat online with Forever fans live, while Marsha Childers McGregor baked a delicious cake for Don in the next room. This transcript has been edited slightly for clarity. Enjoy!

Flemfan: Welcome to 007Forever at Fandom, if you`ve just joined us. I am Matt Sherman, Assistant Editor of 007Forever, and I am delighted to moderate our live chat tonight featuring your questions for Mr. Don McGregor, author of “James Bond: The Quasimodo Gambit” and “James Bond: GoldenEye”, both successful graphic novels with everyone`s favorite number in the forefront. Don`s large body of work is well known in the comix industry, so if we stay on topic for a few questions in a row, hang tight and we will get to your topic`s questions soon.

**This is a “moderated chat,” so if you are just joining us inside 007Forever`s chat room, please head for the auditorium by entering /auditorium at the prompt at bottom of your screen, and you will receive a “welcome to the 007Forever auditorium message” on your screen. Only questions submitted in the auditorium will be answered in tonight`s chat. Thank you.**

Please let me take a moment to share excerpts from the accolades given to Don`s recently released “Detectives Inc.: A Terror of Dying Dreams”…

“…a lean, taut piece, pared down to its dark essence, that pulls no punches…”

“…Wow! Don McGregor and Gene Colan know how to tell a great story…the best comic book I`ve read in 5 years, when I last read A Terror of Dying Dreams…Don`t just stand here reading the back cover, Man. Take it home…a virtuoso synthesis of words and pictures from two of the industry`s grand masters…”

Don McGregor That`s some high praise…

Flemfan: …indeed…

…Welcome to 007Forever!

Don McGregor Good to be here, M. Please don`t accuse me of being a misogynist dinosaur, okay. Don`t ask, don`t tell.

Flemfan: I think you`ve given us a good place to start…

…what I mean is…

Don McGregor I give you all the straight lines. Rainier and Denning taught me how to do that.

Flemfan: You took exception with the GoldenEye script…

You added to Bond`s interior monologue…

Don McGregor Who me?

Flemfan: When M calls Bond a dinosaur…tell us about that?

You had Bond upset…

…at M`s lambasting that he is a misogynist pig…

Don McGregor Well, I`m a Bond fan. And here is M chastising and criticizing Bond for having sex, when she`s screwed up with the information he`s managed to give her.

So, when adapting that scene into comics, I certainly thought Bond should be able to take up for himself. But I didn`t change any of the dialogue in the script. I just gave Bond`s reaction to this tirade.

Icebreaker asks: How is it that you felt about GoldenEye that M “screwed it up”…

…by getting on “Bond`s case”?

Don McGregor Bond has been following the people who have stolen the stealth helicopter, and it`s M who doesn`t let him pursue it.

Boy, I should pull those GoldenEye comics out, huh?

We`re up to 77 questions?

Flemfan: Very funny!

{action: } laughs hysterically.

Here`s a good one from jsacks…

Jsacks asks: Is there any hope of ever returning to the world of Sabre?

… Maybe some Sabre text stories? Old scripts? Sketches?

How much of your “…Decadence” do you have worked out?

Don McGregor Great question, Matt. For fans of SABRE, they know the biggest storyline of all, THE DECADENCE INDOCTRINATION, left at a cliffhanger.

If, we manage to sell enough of the graphic albums on the Internet, or through the specialty shops, or through places like Bud Plant, then, yes, you will see how that biggest fantasy heroic epic I`ve ever attempted will end.

There will be stories that go into characters backgrounds, as well as show where they end up. Dearie Decadence, Heironymous Skull, Tango Two-Step, and other characters that Sabre and Melissa Siren haven`t met yet, but the readers have, will all collide!

Icebreaker asks: Who owns the rights to produce Bond comic books, either original ones or ones based on the movies?

Don McGregor My understanding of that, is that if it involves the literary Bond, the Ian Fleming Bond, then it would be Glidrose. If it is involved with the cinematic Bond, then that would be Eon Productions.

Icebreaker asks: Were more Bond comics planned with Topps before they folded?

Don McGregor Not to my knowledge, but there could have been. The fact that the last two issues of GOLDENEYE never came out certainly wouldn`t help the cause, though.

Jsacks asks: What current comic books do you enjoy? Have you read Brian Michael Bendis? He does solid detective yarns.

Don McGregor Jack Cole`s PLASTIC MAN. It was great to see that early, first material. Milton Caniff`s TERRY AND THE PIRATES. I see a lot of the comic strips these days because I`m doing the ZORRO NEWSPAPER STRIP. They finally found a way to get me to buy a daily newspaper. Have my comic in it every day! That`ll do it!

That has its upsides and downsides. The upside is that you have a reinforcement of the work you are doing every day! It is also the downside, because every day you see where they are, and how close on your butt they are.

Flemfan: **If you joining us late, please enter the auditorium by typing /auditorium and then send us your questions for Don! Watch for the full transcript of tonight`s chat to be posted later this week at**

Mrflig asks: Don, do you write full scripts or “Marvel” style plots? Does it vary on the project, or do you have a definite preference?

Don McGregor It does depend on the project.

Flemfan: What do you mean?

Don McGregor I more or less prefer a full plot, because the other way, it`s almost having to go back and write the sequence a second time. I prefer to write the scripts to the artist`s strengths. Sometimes I am very detailed in every aspect of the page design.

With other artists, I may do panel breakdowns, suggested angles, with others I`m less specific.

It depends on the working relationship you have with the artist, if you are lucky enough to know before hand who you will be partnered with.

And make no mistake, writing comics and illustrating comics is a partnership. You can write your heart out, you can bleed onto the paper, you can care passionately, but if you don`t have an artist that brings their talent and vision to the project, you`re dead on the page.

Jsacks asks: Here`s an off-the-wall question: as a creator, how do you feel about the current controversy about Napster and copyrights?

Flemfan: How do you feel about the Internet and related copyrights?

Don McGregor That`s a broad-based question.

It has no easy answer.

The Internet can help books survive.

But it can also be a place where you have no control over where it appears.

Illya asks: Don, did you ever read any of the Evan Tanner series (by Lawrence Block)?

Flemfan: You know, Don, the detective named “Matt”…

I apologize for the technical troubles tonight!

Don will stay late if you are having fun at 10!

**This is a “moderated chat,” so if you are just joining us inside 007Forever`s chat room, please head for the auditorium by entering /auditorium at the prompt at bottom of your screen, and you will receive a “welcome to the 007Forever auditorium message” on your screen. Only questions submitted in the auditorium will be answered in tonight`s chat. Thank you.**

Hang in there, everyone…as Don says…he is on the way again!

Hang on!!!

Don is coming back on beloved…

…AOL! LOL more like it!

My server went down in the middle of our chat tonight!

…but I am back…

…and am an expert on Don McGregor!

{action: } screams loudly.

Welcome back, Don!

{action: } bows gracefully.

What was it like to turn ZORRO from movie to comic book form?

Don McGregor You know, it was getting a little crazy. There was the ZORRO`S RENEGADES that I was writing.

Then there was THE MASK OF ZORRO movie adaptation into comics.

And then there was the comic strip that was coming.

Mrflig asks: What`s your favorite Bond: a) movie and b) book?

Don McGregor DR. NO is my all time favorite Bond book.

I can still remember reading that sequence with the centipede.

I actually stopped myself three quarters of the way through, and said, Hold it!

You don`t come across a suspense narrative like this very often.

Savor it.

Enjoy it.

I went back and started it from the beginning.

Reading slowly.

And the centipede crawls through his groin hairs.

And then drinks the sweat off his forehead

In high school, I read this aloud in a high school English class.

This was before Kennedy made Fleming acceptable in the States.

The teacher near had a heart attack.

The students love it.

I don`t believe I got expelled.

Flemfan: We know your fav film is Goldfinger…

…you saw it 20 times…

here’s a follow-up to the Dr. No episode…

Mrflig asks: Did the centipede scene in Dr. No inspire the nasty scene with the leeches in Quasimodo Gambit?

Don McGregor I did not have that sequence in the beginning of scripting QUASIMODO.

I knew I had to have a Fleming-esque Bond situation, where there was that intimacy of danger and detail.

But everything I came up with just didn`t have that spark.

I was actually researching the Georgia swamps when I came across some information about the leeches.

And how when they sucked the blood from you, they put an enzyme into your system that wouldn`t allow the blood to coagulate.

And I knew had something that would be vivid!

That could make a memorable Bond sequence.

I hope it did.

Flemfan: It sure did…

Here`s a follow-up…

Illya asks: Don, do you have any problems writing for Bond because he`s so flawless? Part of your strength as a storyteller is giving us the very human Rainier and Denning, Dragon, etc.

Don McGregor I`d argue that point. Fleming`s Bond is not flawless. In writing THE QUASIMODO GAMBIT, I re-read many of the Fleming Bond books.

The Bond in that comic has Fleming`s Bond`s memories.

And the structure is a reverse of LIVE AND LET DIE. Did I ever tell you that, Matt?

Flemfan: I thought you read from RIGHT to left…

Don McGregor Rainier and Denning are a part of the New York City Scene.

They love Culp and Cosby.

They have a deep and abiding respect for each other.

But at the same time, despite being DETECTIVES INC., these guys do not have the same personalities.

They have different opinions on many things.

But not on important things, like honor, commitment, friendship, accountability, etc.

Jason, good to see you here. Jason`s on the don mcgregor OneList. Hope some of you can join us there, as well.

Flemfan: “one world, one list, Mr. Bond…”

Jsacks asks: Will you ever release the “Detectives Inc” video, so everyone can see it?

Don McGregor Just this week-end, I was at a wedding with my good buddy Alex Simmons, and we were discussing the DETECTIVES INC: A TERROR OF DYING DREAMS film version.

Flemfan: …Alex starred in the film…

Don McGregor It needs a third track and a digital copy made, before we can make any final decisions about that.

The cast is superb.

And the fight sequence in the parking lot is much longer and dynamic than we had room to do in the comic.

Flemfan: Bond represents five decades now…

…he has to be “updated” sometimes…

here`s a crossover question of sorts…

Illya asks: Given your love of westerns & Bond, why haven`t we seen you create an Artemis Gordon sort of character…a Bond of the 1800s so to speak?

Don McGregor Okay, I`m thrown here for a moment.

I thought you were saying that Bond himself has to be updated.

But the question now seems to be he should have a Jim West sidekick?

Are we crossing into Zorro territory here?

Do you mean, in Zorro there should be an Artemis Gordon type character?

I don`t know how much Bond has to be updated, just as I don`t believe…

Zorro has to be updated.

I think you start with a love of the character, but you can`t be slavish to it.

You have to bring something new to the stories.

And yet there are certain things about those characters that remain the reasons why they have been loved for so long.

And I`m glad there are people who have loved DETECTIVES INC. and SABRE for so many years.

And that the books and the characters have meant so much to them.

Flemfan: **If you joining us late, please enter the auditorium by typing /auditorium and then send us your questions for Don! Watch for the full transcript of tonight`s chat to be posted later this week at**

Alteredsal asks: What happened to your ZORRO: Matanzas from Image Comics?

Don McGregor Oh, man! Break my heart, why don`t you?

The series was scripted about one half-dozen years ago.

Full script.

Mike Mayhew has done an incredible job on the art.

Sam Parsons has beautifully colored the book.

I kept talking with him throughout ZORRO: MATANZAS! If you go up on the and into the ZORRO: MATANZAS! website you can see for yourself.

You don`t have to take my word for it.

There are finished page samples up there.

John Costanza, arguably one of the best letterers in comics, has finished the lettering.

And we have no idea when the book will come out.

It may appear in France first.

But I haven`t heard anything on that in awhile.

Mrflig asks: Who is the most autobiographical of your characters, if any? (This is Rob Clough, by the way…)

Don McGregor Hey, Rob. Ah, you think I`m going to give myself away here, huh?

I don`t really know how to answer that question.

In some respects, most of the characters probably have something of me in them.

Even the bad guys.

But to single out a character, well, I don`t know, I`d be reluctant to do that.

Some people, for sure, would say Bob Rainier, from DETECTIVES INC, or even Ted Denning, but I don`t know about that.

Who do you think?

Illya asks: What about other folks? Denning’s mom is obviously Alex`s mom… (Kev here btw)

Don McGregor Kevin! Hey, you guys are great!

Flemfan: Is “Denning`s” mom “Alex`s” mom in real life?

Don McGregor Well, she plays the character in the film version.

But I wouldn`t say it`s her. DETECTIVES INC. is fiction.

You could say there might be some aspects of her in the character, just as there might be a little of Alex in Denning, perhaps.

But they really are just them.

You can`t replace them.

They didn`t come out of a mold, or from any one source.

Kevin Hall, by the way, for all you, is the one who makes the look the way it does.

He is the artist for me, the partner I work with on the Internet.

He takes my ideas and helps make them a reality in Cyberspace.

Thank you, Kevin!

Flemfan: Don, you have written extensively for magazines…Bond-related interviews…”Ice” asks…

Icebreaker asks: What do you think of Bond and genre fanzines? What could they use in future? What are their best qualities now?

Don McGregor That`s another question that`s pretty wide.

The Bond magazines out there each have a different approach so there is no one answer.

I suppose you mean to appeal to a wider audience.

I think, when you get that love across, with the facts, and not let the love blind you, but make you want to make this the best Bond piece you can, then something people who love Bond should get a quality product.

Illya asks: More Bond, please. Seems like the Bond movies are great on action, but short on the suspense that I LOVE the original Fleming books for. How do you keep some suspense in the comics?

Don McGregor I think one of the biggest challenges in doing genre fiction with heroes is to get the audience to forget for ten seconds that Bond or Zorro have to come back next issue!

If I manage that, that they get so swept up into what is happening, that the actually forget that, then I think I`ve done my job as a storyteller.

It means going into the intimate detail as Fleming did.

You have to live with it, day after day.

Rob Clough, who wrote earlier, wrote on the OneList, that there is a sequence with the Black Panther buried alive that made him feel like he was suffocating.

That`s what the writer does every day in a scene like that.

Imagine what it`s like to be buried alive.

Or if it`s Bond, what it`s like to have your mouth taped shut with leeches inside it.

Or in PANTHER`S QUEST, what it`s like to be tear gassed.

You go there day after day. And you try to make it the best damned pages of comics you can.

Flemfan: Follow-up to your life inside the head and soul of your characters…

You have filmed a movie of “Detectives, Inc.” (and have appeared in film cameos) and have written prose books as well. Which medium is better for you and why? Which is your personal fave?

Don McGregor Hey, I see there`s an emotion meter here. What`s it reading? Yikes!

That`s a good question.

I love all the mediums.

When you write a prose book, like DRAGONFLAME and THE VARIABLE SYNDROME, the thing you know about this is that what you put down there is what the audience knows.

In film, it isn`t just you.

There is so much technical detail that has to be dealt with.

On the other hand, as a director, unlike as a writer, you have people who deal with specific sections, and you ask, “What`s my options?”

And someone says, this and this and this.

And you say, “This sounds the best. Do that.”

The actors bring your words and sequences to life.

In comics, the artist brings them to life.

So many folk think comics are a second-rate art form.

Flemfan: {action: } snorts derisively.

Don McGregor I think they`re beautiful.

Flemfan: {action: } nods solemnly.

Don McGregor When you see a finished page of comic art from a Gene Colan, or a Dwayne Turner, or Mike Mayhew, or Billy Graham, as just some of the people I`ve been privileged to work with…

Well, nothing beats it.

All the anxiety about facing the blank page…

And how can you make the best page of comics you can that day…

All that is swept aside, when that art comes in, and sometimes the scene is even more than you dared hope for.

It brings breath and meaning and those characters alive!

Icebreaker asks: You’ve created GoldenEye and The Quasimodo Gambit as comics. How do you REALLY feel about other writers and artists who have created Bond comics in recent years?

Don McGregor I`ve seen Paul`s [Gulacy of “Serpent’s Tooth] Bond. He`s a big Bond fan, and he has a lot of power in his drawing. I really haven`t read the material.

On the other hand, how can any writer really answer this.

Even if I had.

Because you can`t come to that objectively.

I just hope the work I`ve done stands on its own merits.

I hope, in the case of Bond or Zorro, people know I came to it with a respect for the mythos of both characters.

And I wish the others well.

Flemfan: Don, thanks for staying late…last question…

…before a few quick announcements…

Don McGregor You want to do some more, it`s flowing now, so it`s up to you.

Flemfan: {action: } cheers enthusiastically.

Don, this is why the fans love you, everywhere!

How about we have you back instead for a follow-up chat soon? Final question…

Jsacks asks: Who are you rooting for tonight, the Lakers or Pacers?

Don McGregor Hey, Jace, are you really David Letterman? I`ll ask my son that question. Hey, Rob. Who are you for?

Ooop! Rob is gone!

Best I can answer that one. I am working on a sequence at Shea Stadium. It`s the only sports answer I can think of.

Flemfan: And so say all of us…Shea?

A few thoughts…first…

For everyone who participated tonight, as always, many hearty “thank yous” from Fandom/007Forever for chatting with us, and a very special THANK YOU goes to Don McGregor, for taking the time to talk with his fans. Don`s current projects, as well as opportunities for ordering specially inscribed copies of his work are available now at

Don McGregor In the GIFT SHOP.

Flemfan: ZORRO can be enjoyed with updated strips each day at Plus, the latest ZORRO news and exciting collectibles may be found at You will also find interaction and fascination at (The above plugs were not solicited by Don McGregor.) 🙂


Flemfan: …and…drum roll…

Don McGregor Just thought I`d throw that in there!

Flemfan: Don is available at as well.

Don McGregor Don`t I help, Matt? 😉

Flemfan: …Plus you can catch 5,000 words of Don this week at 007Forever…

…his two-part interview…

Apologies to all for the tech troubles tonight…

and thanks to Don…a super writer and a super sport…

We salute you, sir!

Don McGregor Thank you, Matt. It`s great working with you again since Bond Weekend ’99.

Flemfan: And great to be at Fandom!

Don McGregor But what did you say you really thought about A TERROR OF DYING DREAMS?

Flemfan: Your latest re-released work? I will be heading out to the auditorium if anyone wants to chat a bit more… 😉

…Don, thanks to you and Marsha McGregor tonight!

–pardon me…am heading to chatroom…the auditorium is closing it down now…

Don McGregor Thank you, Jason. Let me know how you thought this went on the One List.

Illya asks: Sorry to leave the party early gang. Nice seeing Rob & Jason. And of course the inimitable Don. Great moderating job Flemfan!

Jsacks asks: Thanks Don!

Icebreaker asks: Bye for now, Don, thanks for the chat, Matt.

Mrflig asks: Thanks, Don! And thanks for setting this up, Matt.

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Don McGregor: Bonded Comix Part II

–Continuing our two-parter with comix legend, Don McGregor, as he shares about the Bonds, John Glen, Maurice Binder, and struggling to fit the creative muse into a “DEADline”.

Matt: James Bond in Quasimodo Gambit was a bizarre deadline, wasn`t it? Tell us about it.

Don: The Deadline itself kept changing, and there were different deadlines!

When I was first approached to do a Bond comic series, the book was being produced by two separate companies: Eclipse Comics and Acme, which was based in London. They were already in the midst of doing a Bond series with different talent, and they wanted this book to be ready when the other finished. The common thought was to do a Post-Glasnost Bond plot, but I felt, even if they could pull all the talent together to do it, and could come out with Quasimodo Gambit as rapidly as they said, it could be dated by the time it saw print.

It ended up taking years (yeah, that`s right, instead of months, the deadline became years!) for the book to be illustrated. Now, I had written and researched the entire project, so virtually it was all there. But then I had to do final scripting over the art, and make the captions and dialogue fit the art, and because the art was so late, it was often a pressured deadline…

…And Bond had to be done on pages that were in rough penciled sketch. I often had difficulty just in making out who was whom. In one sequence, in M`s office, I placed a lot of the M and Bond introductory stuff into what looked like blank space behind M`s head, but when I saw the color, finished pages, I don`t know how many odd months later, I could see the artist had put in detailed wall space, including a painting behind M`s head, and it was all covered by copy! So, I went back, a replaced it all, to preserve the art. And once again, I was running against another “Deadline.”

James Bond: GoldenEye was a different beast altogether, because Topps got the license to do the series late, and you have to have the first issue of the book ready by the time the film opens. The problem is no one knew what the finished film looked like, and let`s face it, with a Bond film, and a Bond comic, fans are going to be looking closely. But what does that War Room really look like? What about the interior computer control rooms under the frozen wastelands? Never mind, what do many of the characters in the story look like!

Matt: How did you start your lifelong love affair with Mr. Bond? 😉

Don: With Ian Fleming. And that goes way back before any films were made. It goes back even before President Kennedy put “From Russia, With Love” on his favorite books list.

I used to travel down to a small town in West Warwick, Rhode Island. And they had a huge store there called “Newberries,” and it was one of those places that sold everything from fresh made cookies (Oh, man! I loved those Scotch Jams, to this day, but you can`t find them anymore) to paperback books. And that`s where I picked up a copy of “Diamonds Are Forever”.

It`s funny how you can`t remember things that happened two days ago, and other things stay with you, sharp, clear, the moment of impact as fresh as if it happened an instant ago.

I`d gone to a friend`s house on New Year`s Eve, and I`d taken that DAF paperback with me. I was going back towards my house, walking beside the road that traveled up a steep incline that just went on what seemed like forever when you were walking. There was a January snap in the air, stinging the cheeks. I was stopping under streetlights, reading a few passages here and there from Diamonds, and then hiking to the next light in the darkness. And there was that moment when the villain gets his intended victim in the hot mud rooms, and pours scalding mud in his face and eyes! And I remember standing in the lone light in the black expanse. Everything was quiet. New Year`s Eve was either over, or people hadn`t returned to their houses yet. And I thought what the hell is this!

And I hadn`t even read “Dr. No” yet!

I learned a lot from Fleming. There`s a sequence from “No”, where the centipede is crawling up Bond`s body, and it`s one of the most exquisitely detailed suspense narratives I`ve ever read. I actually recall telling myself to slow down, go back to the beginning of the scene, and savor it, because those kind of scenes didn`t happen often!

Matt: You have plenty of stories about Bond insiders. What is the wildest thing that happened to you while working on a Bond related project?

Don: The wildest thing! You think I`m going to tell you that, Matt? Right here, and now! Or ever!

I will tell you that one of the nicest thing was meeting so many really nice, talented people. I have fond memories of talking with John Glen the night before For Your Eyes Only opened in the States. He was incredibly candid and open about all his feelings. Maurice Binder was a delight. I`d gone to the MGM buildings to talk with him, and they were supposed to have a clip of the opening credits to show me, and for some reason, it couldn`t be found. I told Maurice that was fine, not a problem, but Maurice wouldn`t hear of it. He said, “You`ve traveled all this way, Don, and they were supposed to have it ready!” And guess what, ten, fifteen minutes later, we were in a screening room watching his wonderful way with credits.

What pleased me most in that instance is that after the article on Maurice appeared in Star Log magazine, he wrote me a note telling me how pleased he was with it, and that he felt it was the most accurately he had ever been quoted. That`s not a wild moment, but its one I hold dear.

Still, one of the best things about working on Bond related articles in those days, was meeting Tom Carlile. He was Cubby Broccoli`s US Publicity Coordinator. He treated me, and Star Log, as if we were as important as the biggest promotion gig they had going. Tom took me to dinner one night. I shouldn`t have been there. I`d had a heart attack the night before, although I`d convinced myself by morning that it couldn`t have been that, and yet I`d gone into Manhattan to make sure everything was all right with a series I was writing called Nathaniel Dusk, which was drawn by the Dean of comics, Gene Colan, and then I`d hiked over to see Tom.

He was going in for cancer tests soon after. It was a foolish thing I`d done, and I hope I`d know better today, and yet I`ve always treasured that night, sitting with Tom, as he told me great stories about the early days of trying to promote Bond in the States. “Who wants a movie about a Limey detective?” more than one theater owner would say to him. And the change to where he had people beating at his door and ringing the phone off the hook to get whatever they could on 007! But he also told me amazing stories about working with George Stevens and behind-the-scenes events on “Shane”, stuff I`d never known. Or how difficult it was to work on “Barbarella” with Jane Fonda and Dino DeLaurentiis.

Maybe not wild, but certainly treasured, Matt. It was the last time I ever saw Tom. But what a wonderful last time together. I miss him.

Matt: Tell us about why it was that the lovely and popular GoldenEye comic`s last two issues went unpublished!

Don: See, now, you`re talking about stuff you know the answers to! Now, you`re just baiting me!

Let me see how to tell this without all the twists and turns that project took. The first thing people need to know about a project like this is that there are three companies involved. Eon Productions, of course, made the film. They hired a company called Leisure Concepts to handle Licensing deals for the Bond movie. So, now you have three separate companies, when you include Topps, all with people handling the business end of the project. (And comics are a literary-style item like Glidrose produces for the Fleming estate, too.)

What I have to do is find out how many pages we have to tell the film, get as much visual reference as possible, and find the best way to capture the spirit and tone of a film I haven`t even seen yet! Now, all of Topps negotiations had to go through Leisure Concepts to get to Eon Productions. The problem for a place that handles licensing is that they don`t understand the nature of comics. Normally, they are approached to do a Bond product, be it watches or T-Shirts or talcum powder. The company wanting to make this product needs Bond images.

Let`s take a T-Shirt company, for example. They make the deal, the licensing company sends them 20 or 30 images of Bond, the company selects the one they feel will make the best T-Shirts, and its onward. With comics, you have to see everything!

It`s not even like adapting the book, because you can slide over the details, the pictures aren`t right there in front of the audience. But with a comic, you have to visualize every scene! And with all the technical gizmos and unique backgrounds that are a part of the story, you have to show it! And if I was going to do a Bond comic, I`m coming to it, as someone who loves comics, who has a reputation for the books my names goes on, but as important as that, producing a quality book for fans of Bond, because I`m a fan! I want to do the book I`d like to see if I was out there, wanting to have a comic about Bond!

All of GoldenEye, all three books were pencilled. All three books were lettered. All three books were inked. I had worked on the covers for all three books with Brian Stelfreeze. And without a doubt, the best cover we had, in terms of attracting an audience, Bond and especially, non-Bond, was the cover for Issue #2. Brian did a painting from the steam room sequence between Bond and Xenia Onatopp, with General Ouromov as a ghostly overseeing presence. It was colorful, provocative and caught the spirit of the scene exquisitely.

And it became a problem. I wasn`t there for all the conversations, but apparently someone, somewhere was concerned about the cover. Topps was ready to go to press with the second book when an objection came about the cover. Leisure Concepts and Eon, or just one of the companies, had to give approval to the book, and that approval stalled. Jim Salicrup wouldn`t print the book until Topps had the approval.

THE DAY (and I`m not just saying this for dramatic effect; it`s really the way it happened), the day they put all the finished art in my hands, done, complete, was also the day I was told the book wouldn`t see print. Ads had already been taken out for a compilation edition! You can see the book listed as if it exists in Price Guides! No Bond fan will ever find it-issues 2 and 3–because it didn`t happen. There are lots of books like that these days, advertised as if they exist, with Price Guide sums printed as to their value, and the damn books never came out! Twenty years from now, comics researchers and historians are going to go nuts trying to find books that don`t exist at all!

I knew time was running out, even as the book was being finished. And we were all under the gun, to get the book done, to do it right in the amount of space we had, to have it ready. But the more time that passed from the opening of the movie, the odds were increasing that the series wouldn`t be completed.

And it wasn`t because the book didn`t sell! GoldenEye #1 was very successful. All that work. I held the art in my hands, heard the words, and there`s an empty feeling inside. You`ve run the race! You`ve given everything you have! And the James Bond fans will never see it!

There`s not one argument you can offer that`s going to change it.

And it hurts the chances for more Bond comics down the road, because some people are going to think, hey, Bond comics didn`t sell.

Matt: You attended the Bond Weekend `99 we held in Las Vegas. What was it like to meet all those crazy fans and inscribe some of your work for them?

Don: The Bond Con was great! Although, you ask about wild times, Matt, and the wildest time there was when you took on the entire Las Vegas airport security personnel. Personally, I thought maybe you`d been doing a little too much James Bond immersion identification. But you appeared at Planet Hollywood, shaken, not stirred.

Both Marsha and I really enjoyed the people there. It wasn`t just the connection of Bond, it was a genuine warmth with so many of those people. There was a lot of passion, for Bond, certainly, but for life in general!

But I do miss driving with Jim Sieff in the Bond Aston Martin going down the desert highway! I wish we`d done that with Lana Wood! Damn! Is Jim bringing the Aston Martin to New Orleans for Bond Weekend 2000? Did you know that`s where I set the Blade series I wrote for Marvel? Thinking about it, I guess there aren`t many desert highways in Orleans, are there? Hmmm.

Matt: Jim may be busy filming with his Astons for Austin Powers 3. What are some of the trends you foresee in the comix industry?

Don: I`m far from a soothsayer. Comics are under siege, in many ways. Certainly, the Internet will open the way for new ways to present and do comics, though how all that will play out is still cloudy. I do believe this is a way to help books survive, by using the Web, that might not have a chance if one has to rely just on the big Distributors. It`s one of the reasons I decided to start the site. Kevin Hall put together that and the McGregor ONElist Message Group. I wasn`t sure anybody would write to the thing. Well, not only have they written, but they`ve put file copies up of art from books I`ve done, and they`ve done a magnificent job with it. There`s color art from Dwayne Turner drawn Black Panther, to repros from Billy Graham SABRE art. I hope that we will have graphic albums of SABRE: An Exploitation of Everything Dear sometime in the near future. The entire storyline that ran from SABRE Issue #3 to #9, “Everything Dear” collected in one big volume. But before that we should have out The Definitive Ragamuffins Graphic Album, a series I created years ago, pencilled by Gene Colan. It`s about kids growing up in the 1950`s, a book about kids for adults, with flash forwards to various points in time in the `60s, `70s and `80s.

It`s exactly books like these that I think the Internet can help to survive.

If people can find you on the Internet, see that they can get the books directly from you, and if they feel confident in ordering those books, then perhaps this opens the medium up from the domination it has been under to produce “superhero” books. Many of these titles have become so inbred that if you haven`t read a hundred issues you don`t have a clue what the hell you`re reading!

I can`t prove this will work. I just know the Internet is opening new doors and venues. If I could see into the future, I guess I would know how to use that effectively to promote and sell the books, but remember, I`m primarily a storyteller, that`s what I`ve always been, and that hasn`t changed, so this is something totally new to me.

It`s difficult to get people to know you`re there in the vastness of Cyberspace.

It`s difficult to get people to know who don`t normally read comics that there might be books they`d really be interested in, if they knew they existed.

But how to get, let`s say, someone who really loves mystery fiction to know there`s a series of beautifully produced books like Detectives, Inc., with complex characters you can get involved with, in story-lines that are serious, but not without humor, visually exciting and evocatively rendered? I don`t have all the answers for that. But certainly, a site like Fandom/007Forever helps reach people, Matt, and makes it more accessible to know these books exist! If you love Bond, or ZORRO, or, to name a couple of my favorites, these days, Buffy or Xena, well, now you know there`s a place that you can go and get quality material on these characters. The same hopefully will apply to Detectives, Inc. and SABRE and Ragamuffins. These books cover a wide span, from heroic fantasy to private eyes to mainstream stories.

They are unique, and they are of singular vision, and I hope to do more of them.

And meet more of those incredible fans who have been so supportive over the years. Thank God for them! They surprised a few editors over the years, let me tell you!

Matt: What new projects are on your plate now?

Don: I`m writing the daily ZORRO newspaper strip, which appears in the New York Daily New and the Houston Chronicle, among many other papers. I`ve just introduced the first major black characters in the ZORRO mythos in the strips–starting back in the middle of April 2000. The Definitive Ragamuffins is at two companies right now, and hopefully, we`ll have copies by the San Diego Comic Con [author`s note: It would be great to see a lot of Bond fans there as 007Forever staff and contributors are attending in July]. The new book includes a rough version of a twenty-page lost Ragamuffins story called “The Pack Rat Instinct”, which has never yet seen print! The fans will love it. It is all about the dear, sweetly absurd, all consuming need to collect that which you love! It`s as much a part of the fan as breathing. [I know Collectors` Corner fans at Forever can relate–Matt]

I`m also working on a new Detectives, Inc. story entitled “A Fear of Perverse Photos”. Detective Bob Rainier`s opening line is, “Let me see if I`ve got this right, you want us to break into your apartment and steal all the pornographic photos you`ve printed off the Internet.” It`s a story that looks at this new phenomenon, how it affects everyday people, examines the different criteria for what is considered obscene and isn`t, and even looks at views on the afterlife and angels. Oh, and it also looks at the changing face of Manhattan. Has it really been changed? Could Dorothy now get off a bus at Port Authority with Toto, look around and sigh, “Jeez, Toto, we really still are in Kansas!”?

But I`ll be spending a lot of time and energy on the website, as well, promoting it, making sure people have a way to find the books if they haven`t found other sources. But I`ll be doing conventions as well. I`m due to be at the big Madison Square Garden convention with the people behind Pulp Adventures. I`ve just done an introduction for their first reprint of Johnston McCulley`s ZORRO pulp reprint stories. Plus, I have every intent to be at the San Diego Comic Con, as well.

Matt: Do you have any tips for aspiring comix authors and artists?

Don: I teach a course on “Writing For The Comics” at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and that`s a question that starts every class. A short answer, and by no means a definitive one, is for the person to figure out what type of writer they want to be. You might as well start early, because you`re going to have to make that decision again and again, if you survive in this business. Remember, it`s your name that goes on the story! I`ve never had someone come up to me in all the years I`ve been signing books and say, “Don, the managing editor of the comic did this and made this story say this.” They come up and ask, “Why did you…?” and as long as you know the answer, and it is an answer you can live with, you`ll know that it is your story. They can`t take it from you.

Hang in there!

–Many thanks to Don McGregor for taking the time to help prepare this special two-part story. Follow the links below to check out Part I of this interview and learn about the Bond Collectors` Weekends including Las Vegas `99 and New Orleans for Bond Weekend 2000 in September!

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